During the 1970s and 80s, Turkish cinema regularly churned out low-budget versions of Hollywood box office smashes and American television hit series.
Star Wars, Star Trek, The Exorcist, E.T., and Superman were among those to get an often unauthorised Turkish makeover.
These B-movies, often referred to as “Turksploitation”, are not only endearing to Turks, but also enjoy a global cult status.
Initially undervalued, today their cultural significance is far better understood, with these Turkish remakes admired and examined by film buffs and academics from around the world.
On Wednesday, 4 November 2020, the Yunus Emre Institute in London will be hosting a fascinating online talk on the subject as part of its Arts & Culture Lecture series.
Dr Iain Robert Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London, will discuss ‘Turkish Remakesploitation: Yeşilçam-era remakes of Hollywood cinema’ with Prof. Nezih Erdoğan, a leading authority on Turkish cinema.
The one hour talk will look back at Turkish popular cinema and Turkish film history.
Among the films they will be taking a closer look at are Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda [Ömer the Tourist in Star Trek]. This 1973 movie, directed by prolific Turkish film producer Hulki Saner and starring comedian Sadri Alışık, was a hilarious send-up of ‘The Man Trap’ – an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, with the Turkish version poking fun at Kirk and Spock.
In 1974, the award-winning Turkish filmmaker Metin Erksan directed Şeytan, a near shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist albeit with the Catholic iconography replaced with Islam.
These films were part of a wider global phenomenon known as ‘remakesploitation’ – low-budget exploitation film reworkings of Hollywood blockbusters – that took place in film industries all around the world from India through to the Philippines.
Yet it is a phenomenon that particularly flourished in Turkey in the 1970s and 1980s with Yeşilçam-era remakes of everything from Star Wars and E.T. through to Death Wish and Some Like it Hot.
Initially, these films were dismissed as derivative and unworthy of serious study, but scholars are now recognising the value they have for investigating processes of cultural globalisation.
And with many of these films being recently digitally restored and subtitled in English, new audiences in Turkey and around the world can also fully appreciate this fascinating period within Turkish film history.
Title: Turkish Remakesploitation: Yeşilçam-era remakes of Hollywood cinema
Date: Wednesday, 4th November 2020
Time: 18:00 (GMT)
Place: online via ZOOM
Access: This event is FREE, but prior registration via Eventbrite is ESSENTIAL. Click here to register.
Main image, top, of stills from Turkish remakes of Hollywood blockbusters (top left clockwise): ‘Star Wars’ (Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam), ‘The Exorcist’ (Şeytan), ‘Star Trek’ (Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda), and ‘Superman Returns’ (Süpermen Dönüyor)