THE ANNOUNCEMENT by Mahmut Fazil Coşkun is a dry humor, a scratching satire, a surreal chronicle of an attempted coup in Turkey by a group of soldiers during the Sixties. Turkey is a country where the military “has never missed a shot”. Over the last 60 years military stepped in five times in Turkish politics to successfully topple governments. Except in 2016.
Mahmut, was your intention with this film to lampoon the military, with an eye at latest events, the failed plot against the government of President Erdogan?
I’m an anti-militarist but my intention wasn’t making fun of military. We started to write the script four years ago (contemporary coup attempt happened in 2016, after we finished the script) and we never intended to draw an analogy between today’s and 60’s political situations in Turkey. I wanted to reach of course further than this. Our goal was to make a film to understand the soul of Turkey, westernization, power game, how idealists will lose at the end, the natural flow eventually wins.
The film opens with a scene in a medical practice in Germany. A Turkish man undergoes medical examination. On the wall we read “Ein Gast Arbeiter ist auch dein Nächte”. We understand the meaning of this scene only after on. Did you mean to critically highlight the migration laws and visa policy in force in Germany where most Turkish diaspora is concentrated?
Since the new republic was established in 1923, Turkey wanted to be a part of Europe which never happened. I wanted to show with this scene how Westerners see Turks. Of course this may apply today’s migration laws and and how the immigrants are treated.
There are many comic moments in the film, with soldiers speaking about fridges just arrived on the market in Turkey or about Martini drink while something dramatically serious is going on. I found particularly funny the story of a conspirator who recounts he was expelled from the Korean front because he sang the wrong anthem, the one of the other Korea. Is this story based on a true event?
Yes the story is based on true events mostly or maybe it’s better to say it’s inspired from true events. We read many diaries, newspapers etc. Most of the characters and small stories are in the film are fictional though, such as frigidaire, martini or Korean anthem.
Has The Announcement come out in Turkey? And if so, how has it been received?
It’s just released, so far so good. The film has good reviews mostly.
How is the film scene in Turkey today? Turkish cinema has always been internationally appreciated for its sophisticated national filmmaking and superbly talented filmmakers, who have been somehow politically engaged with the big issues of Turkish society. Has this milieu changed recently?
Since 2000 new Turkish cinema is looming. With the new developments in cinema technology number of the films growing every year. But I don’t observe the same thing for the quality.