Distant Constellation

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Distant Constellation

Directed by Shevaun Mizrahi

  • USA, Turkey, Netherlands 2017; 82 min
  • Original version: Turkish, English, French
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Jury’s Special Mention Award - Locarno IFF
    • FIPRESCI Prize - Viennale
    • New Waves Non Fiction Award - Sevilla EFF
    • Best Picture Prize - Jeonju IFF

Synopsis

This haunted reverie drops us inside an Istanbul retirement home, where the battle-scarred residents bask in the camera’s attention. A creaky- voiced woman confides her personal account of the Armenian genocide. A sweetly deluded pianist performs a composition before confessing his love. A blind photographer fiddles with his flash as he points his own camera back at us. Shevaun Mizrahi’s playful, immaculately controlled film finds hypnotizing rhythms in the residents’ limbo-like state. Meanwhile, outside, ominous construction equipment transforms the land.

Director's Statement

I was inspired by the sci-fi anthropology of Chris Marker (“Sans Soleil”) and the visual poetry of Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa (“Colossal Youth”) and their use of visual storytelling and open narrative structures. The filming took place during my annual visits to see my family in Turkey. While my mother is American, my father was born and lives in Istanbul. He grew up in a small Jewish community and like the subjects of this film is a minority in Istanbul. The retirement home where this film takes place is located in the neighborhood where he grew up and represents a culture and time that is disappearing. I did both camera work and sound myself as a one-woman crew, which helped preserve the intimacy between myself, the space and the subjects. Although the characters of “Distant Constellation” lived fascinating and dramatic lives, we’ve decided not to provide more biographical or historical context. Our intention is to create a very intimate and self-contained world and an immersive experience.

Production

  • GRIZIM-BUGA-MIZRAHI

    Deniz Buga, Shelly Grizim, Shevaun Mizrahi 

International Sales

  • SOCIETE ACEPHALE

    Mustafa Uzuner 

Distribution

  • USA-CANADA DISTRIBUTION: GRASSHOPPER FILM

     

  • UK-IRELAND DISTRIBUTION: ICA FILMS

     

  • TURKEY DISTRIBUTION: BASKA SINEMA