Orhan Pamuk will be a familiar name to many and is widely regarded as one of the best authors of the last decade. In 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Istanbul in 1952, Pamuk’s life has revolved around the Turkish capital and it has been an integral part of his work. His writing is richly textured and complex and is characterised by ideas surrounding identity fuelled by Istanbul’s unique balance between East and West. His support for freedom of speech has lead him to fall foul of the authorities.
In 2013 he published The Museum of Innocence and established a museum of the same name in Istanbul. The museum houses a collection of items which are contained within the book. The book itself is a fictional account of a love story between a wealthy businessman and a poor distant relative. Grant Gee’s documentary, Innocence of Memories, blurs the lines between fact and fiction even more. Co-written with Pamuk, it’s a visual essay which merges fragments from the book, pieces from the museum and extrapolates them within author’s love of the city.
Innocence of Memories is a beguiling and enchanting mix. It’s narrative structure is tied in with the book, interlaced with Pamuk’s musings on Istanbul and fictional narration about the lives of the characters. The camera roams around the city at night following the denizens of the street, its canine community, as the author meditates on how memories intersect with the stories of our lives. Innocence of Memories is a fascinating watch and a wonderful merging of the arts.
Innocence of Memories is out in cinemas on Friday.