On the Way to School (Turkish Title: Iki Dil Bir Bavul)
Özgür Dogan and Orhan Eskiköy, Netherlands/Turkey, 81′, 2009

Time: Tuesday March 10, 2015; doors open 19.00, screening 19.30

Location: WORM, Boomgaardsstraat 71, 3012 XA Rotterdam

Admission: €6 (free for PZI students)

This is one in a series of monthly screenings at WORM programmed by Tina Bastajian for the Piet Zwart Institute, Master of Media Design & Communication Department.

The film chronicles a year in the life (from Sept 2007 to June 2008) of a young Turkish language teacher sent by the state to a remote Kurdish village in Eastern Turkey. Interactions with the students, parents and community prove to be an evolving exercise in witnessing and understanding the complexities of communication. The teacher speaks no Kurdish, and the students knowledge of Turkish is almost non-existent. Themes of isolation and belonging nuance the teacher’s encroaching sense of internal exile, which ironically also underscores the complexity of the Kurdish situation in Turkey. It should be noted that the Turkish title translates as literally, two languages and a suitcase.

Learning to sound out and write a strange language in order to perform rote recitations of nationalistic Turkish pledges feels more like propaganda than education, and helmers Eskiköy and Dogan allow this realisation to build imperceptibly. (Ronnie Scheib, Variety)

Through various methods and in-varying acts of patience, the “characters” find an fragile sense of a shared common ground. On the Way to School not only documents this process but also invites viewers to question its narrative form positing cinema as a unique lingua franca to transgress linguistic and geo-political borders. Filmmakers’ Dogan and Eskiköy received much praise for the film in both Turkey and abroad, winning the Best Documentary award at the Abu Dabi 9th Middle East Film Festival, as well as taking both the Turkish Film Critic’s Festival Prize and the Grand Jury Yilmaz Guney Prize at the Adana Golden Boll Film Festival.

Programme notes and introduction to the evenings screening by Tina Bastajian.