Coming home a weary Turkish soldier is embraced by his sisters and mother; the scene is accompanied by seventeenth century baroque music. A widow contacts her deceased husband through a television medium. Two lovers violently lash out at each other, parting melodramatically moments after. These are some moments from the movie Ebedi Dönüş (Eternal Return) by Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen.
Ebedi Dönüş is written and recorded during a residency at Platform Garanti, Istanbul and originated from a research into soap operas on Turkish television. One of the ideas that came about during the research is that soap operas are in fact infinite stories; and endless variation of dramatic moments, without driving at a definitive plot or ending. The three interwoven story lines of Ebedi Dönüş are circular; their beginning and ending are the same. Thus another, closed-circuit kind of infinity is suggested that coincides with the loop in which the video is shown during exhibitions. As a consequence of the circular form the characters are imprisoned in the story, involuntarily repeating the same script over and over.
Fragments of poetry from a poet who spent a large part of his life in prison – Nâzım Hikmet – are interspersed with the script. One of Hikmet’s most famous works is Human Landscapes, in which he strings together the life stories of fellow prisoners in an epic poem. Despite the obvious differences, Hikmet shares with soap operas an commitment to the feelings, dreams and desires that make up the lives of common men. Thus in the movie Ebedi Dönüş we find high and low-brow culture, art from the past and the present, and elements from Turkish and Dutch culture.
The parts in the movie are played by actor who also play in the soap operas on television. The actors are displaced from their usual context into a barren decor. The decor, referencing minimalism with its square volumes in different grey hues, can also be seen as the abstraction of a regular soap decor. The alienating effect of the displacement bring the movie even closer to theatre – as opposed to cinema – than would already be the case with the primarily dialogue driven plot. Because of this theatrical aspect the movie could just as well be seen as an addition to the artists’ performances as to their videos. [Pietje Tegenbosch]
Selected for the Rotterdam Filmfestival 2010
Made possible with support of the Mondriaan Fund.