Documentary on Turkey’s ‘Ugly King’ Yılmaz Güney to be screened at the East End Film Festival 2018


A young filmmaker sets out to walk in the footsteps of Yılmaz Güney, the legendary Turkish-Kurdish director, actor and activist. Güney’s films are described as “the essence of life” by Austrian auteur Michael Haneke.

Born in Adana, southern Turkey, in 1937, Güney made a name championing Turkey’s most marginal citizens on and off the screen. He directed a total of 25 films, wrote 61 scripts, and appeared in 116 movies during his career. The charismatic young actor quickly rose to prominence for the cool, if somewhat gruff-looking characters he played, earning him the moniker Çirkin Kral (‘the Ugly King).

Güney became the first filmmaker from Turkey to win at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the Palme d’Or with his masterpiece Yol (‘Road’) in 1982. The film – which Güney famously directed from inside a Turkish prison – was to be his last. He died of gastric cancer in September 1984 and was buried in Paris.

Hüseyin Tabak brilliantly explores Güney’s enduring legacy through interviews with family, friends and colleagues, including his co-stars Tarık Akan, Tuncel Kurtiz and Halil Ergün, with clips from his films and rare footage of the man himself. The documentary, released in 2017, is being screened in partnership with the London Kurdish Film Festival as part of this year’s East End Film Festival (EEFF).

EEFF18 runs until 29 April. Founded in 2000, EEFF is one of the UK’s largest film festivals offering a rich and diverse programme of films from local and international movie-makers. This year’s programme features several films connected to Turkey and Turks, including Onur Saylak’s Daha/More and Fatih Akin’s In the Fade.

Screenings take place in a variety of venues across the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Check online for the full programme.

Screening Details

Title: The Legend of The Ugly King

Language: Turkish, with English subtitles

Date: Sunday 15 April 2018

Start Time: 15.00

Running time: 122 minutes

Venue: Curzon Aldgate, Goodman’s Fields, 2 Canter Way, London E1 8PS, UK

Admission: £16.50 (£13.50 Curzon members)

Tickets and additional information: Buy tickets online from the cinema here. The film’s classification has been rated 18.