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Şerif Gören, 1982
Turkey/Switzerland/France | Turkish with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 111 minutes
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, this most famous of all Turkish films starts in a prison, where those prisoners who have served at least a third of their time are given a week’s furlough to go home. Yet, as the film makes shockingly clear, going outside the prison walls doesn’t necessarily end one’s personal incarceration. Directed from a highly detailed screenplay by Yılmaz Güney (who was in jail at the time) by his close collaborator Şerif Gören, Yol renders each of its five principal stories with sympathy and clarity, creating a vibrant, visceral sense of prisoners’ world, while offering insights into their dreams and fears. Rarely has a film so effectively communicated an atmosphere defined by daily oppression, yet Yol is not without hope: grave as their family or romantic problems might be, each prisoner knows they must be addressed squarely.