Films: My Marlon and Brando

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My Marlon and Brando  {Gitmek}

My Marlon and Brando

Turkey, 2008, 93 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Foreign
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: English, Turkish, Kurdish English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Huseyin Karabey
Producer: Lucinda Englehart, Huseyin Karabey Sophie Lorant,
Editor: Mary Stephen
Screenwriter: Ayça Damgaci, Huseyin Karabey
Cinematographer: Emre Tanyildiz
Principal Cast: Ayça Damgaci, Hama Ali Kahn

In this unusual, poetic docudrama, Turkish actress Ayça Damgaci plays herself to explore her long-distance, multicultural love affair with Kurdish actor Hama Ali Khan. After meeting on a movie set in western Turkey, where they fall in love, the two return to their homes—plying one another with heartfelt videos and passionate letters in English, their only shared language. It is from her paeans that the film takes its name, as she compares him to people and things that move her (“You is my Marlon and Brando…you is the F-16 in the news…you is the deep brown valley I lie in”). They endure their separation for eighteen months, but when the United States prepares to invade Baghdad, Damgaci becomes increasingly frustrated by the cultural and geographic barriers between them. Though frightened by the imminent bombing of Iraq, Damgaci decides to undertake the harrowing journey to be with her Kurdish lover, moving from border crossing to border crossing—swimming against the tide of refugees fleeing the war.

As he alternates between scenes of their separation and her subsequent trek, filmmaker Huseyin Karabey (usually known for actual documentaries about the Middle East) shows his deft skill in capturing ethnographic details and the spectacular but dangerous landscapes of Kurdistan. Meanwhile, the couple’s exchanges are all the more artful and poignant for their sometime clumsiness, and their physical presence—contrary to the standards of Hollywood romances—lends the movie an emotional heft beyond its true-to-life premise.

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