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Teyzem | Halit Refiǧ, 1987
Turkey | Turkish with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 81 minutes
One of the giants of filmmaking in Turkey, Halit Refiǧ created one of his finest works with this searing drama based on a screenplay by respected writer (and later filmmaker) Ümit Ünal. Üftade (Müjde Ar) has long been the object of men’s fury. In childhood, her stepfather constantly abused her, and later her marriage descends into vicious psychological domination. Throughout the years, her suffering is witnessed by her nephew who, despite his warm feelings for his aunt, nevertheless feels helpless to do anything about her condition. My Aunt is a powerful indictment of a society that allows individuals—most often women—to be destroyed by those closest to them, with the excuse that “it’s a family affair.” Refiǧ and Ünal detail the support system that allows even the most outrageous and arbitrary acts of cruelty to appear acceptable, even normal. As Üftade, the sublime Müjde Ar gives one of her most remarkable performances.