Ever since the establishment of the first towns and cities, people across countries have been drawn to them. Towards the possibilities they hold in terms of education, work and culture. The industrial revolution and the mechanisation of manual labour has sped up this migration. Those who have remained in the villages and hamlets often hold fast to traditions, especially in religious societies. For women living within these communities, equality can seem like an unobtainable dream.
Filmmaker Ahmet Necdet Cupur grew up in a village in rural Turkey. It has been twenty years since he left but it still haunts his tracks, finding a way to intrude into his daily life. With this in mind, in Les Enfants Terribles he returns to film his family. His brother Mahmoud who is in an arranged marriage with a woman he doesn’t love. His teenage sister Zeynep who works in a factory but dreams of leaving to get an education. Their aspirations of freedom come into conflict with their authoritarian father.
Benefiting greatly from the unique access Ahmet’s position affords him, Les Enfants Terribles is a fascinating portrait of family life in rural Turkey. Tradition and progress clash within the two generations of the family, with the elders clinging to the past whilst the younger members long for the opportunities modern life has to offer. Les Enfants Terribles illustrates the complexities of families through witnessing dialogue and inter-relationships we would not normally be party to. Nothing is haram. Nothing is sugar-coated. It’s spellbinding.
Les Enfants Terribles screens at London Film Festival.