Aslı Baykal's Darkroom and Kiarostami's And Life Goes On carry us to calm through a collective relationship to image-making.
At the modern-day crossroads of Turkey and Syria, the neighborhood of Istasyon is taken over by children with cameras. Through their gaze, they transform cinder block villages into portals and roam freely across abandoned train tracks to Sirkhane Darkroom, an oasis of red light and pomegranate trees, where their images are born. Darkroom is an experimental and celebratory portrait of Istasyon’s youth and their capacity to forge an alternate reality within a conflict zone. Embedded in this vibrant 16mm film, a co-creation between the film crew and these photography students is a reverence for the mysterious power and intimacy of analog image-making.
The work Un Certain Regard exerts its capable stamp on semi-fiction in the aftermath of the 1990 Manjil-Rudbar earthquake. Kiarostami sees the moment to illuminate the truths that he himself found when he and his son journeyed by car to discover the fates of the children of Where Is The Friends House? in June of that year. Along the way, this second installment of the Koker Trilogy finds a sanguine life at pace, and reminds us that film has its own truth. It doesn’t lie.
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