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June 01, 2006


Crossing the Bridge
Hip-hoppers Ceza Gang dropping the flava in Istanbul in the film Crossing the Bridge (2006), directed by Fatih Akin.

Under wet rainy skies over the holiday weekend, a trio of hot film tickets brought out hundreds of filmgoers to see X-Men 3 fill the screen with live-action comic book heroes and muscle-bound beefcake, Tom Cruise find yet another Mission: Impossible 3, and Tom Hanks chase after the Da Vinci Code in what could be the bestselling airport bookstore novel ever turned into a film.

Meanwhile, past advance posters promoting forthcoming releases like Miami Vice at the Pacific Place Theater, Seattle audiences had opportunities to check out the 32nd Seattle International Film Festival (May 24 – June 18) opening weekend selection of films. Screened around the city — and soon in Bellevue at the Lincoln Square Cinemas — SIFF trumpets its largest year with more films and film programs (something like 400 in all), more films by Northwest filmmakers, more music films and film events, more short film programs, and more lesbian and gay titles offered compared to recent years.

The fest’s opening weekend may have beckoned many to see larger marquee draws like Robert Altman’s screen adaptation of Prairie Home Companion and the locally-produced gay comedy Boy Culture. Although both films were billed with gala post-screening parties, no less festive is Fatih Akin’s Crossing the Bridge — The Sound of Istanbul, one of several highlights at this year’s fest. Crossing the Bridge chronicles German musician Alexander Hacke’s dip into the sound and soul of Turkey’s Janusian port city and culture capital. At the end of the music documentary, Hacke reveals that he “didn’t find what he came for” during a recent visit to Istanbul, but enthuses, “I love Turkish music!”

The bassist for Berlin’s Einstürzende Neubauten, an industrial noise band that emerged in the 1980s, journeys from Berlin to Istanbul to meet with the city’s musicians, emerging pop stars, and find the burgeoning underground music scene in a bustling commercial and club district. His visit to the city enables him to engage in the vibrant music world thriving in Istanbul — pegged to the city’s infectious rhythm propelled throughout the film. The film’s rich mosaic exposes a portrait of hip-hop, world savvy techno deejays, aging rock stars and young avant-garde rockers, and traditional musicians whose range spans from haunting Kurdish love songs to the deep percussive style of Roma folk music to nostalgic torchlight ballads from the Seventies. Crossing the Bridge, while only scratching the surface, ambitiously expresses a confident mix of Istanbul’s contemporary music with wide appeal.

Posted by Eric at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

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