By Heidi Trautmann
A film made in Cyprus. A film about Cyprus. Cyprus with its mysteries and sad stories of its people, the island of Aphrodite with its beautiful scenery; the crossroads where many cultures met, lived, loved and fought. A film made by the Cypriot Tamer Garip who was born next to a cinema in Nicosia in 1962.
Tamer Garip joined Near East University in 2011 as Head of Innovation and Technoparks. He has written, directed and produced the film. Besides some professional actors and actresses such as the main characters, he has invited amateurs to join him to make this film, among them many students from Near East University.
Tamer Garip says…. “this film was written in accordance to historical facts and after a thorough research that lasted over nine years by investigatingTurkish, Greek and British secret documents. However, the story has been fictionalized to meet the requirements of cinematography and inappropriate historical events were not included in the film.
Neither Turkish nor Greek Cypriots will be able to spot anything in the film to which they can raise objections. On the contrary, they will learn about many new details that they have not been aware of before and by virtue of this film, they will start a new way of communication to get closer to each other. The audience of this film will think that “Venus is Cyprus, and Cyprus is Venus” and feel the sorrows of people of Cyprus deep in their heart.”
I went to see the film at one of the Lemar cinemas. It is bilingual, i.e.parts in English with Turkish subtitles and sometimes in Turkish with English subtitles. All the scenes were filmed in Northern Cyprus with many places that are probably well known to residents.
To give the reader a short synopsis of the film: Jasmine, born in 1932 in England, returns to Cyprus in 1955 with a mission. She remembers Cyprus well from the times she spent with her parents when she was a kid until the age of 12. Her parents had disappeared when they did some investigation about Barnabas’ lost gospel. She is made to join the secret service M16 by her archaeology teacher to find the document they believe is hidden somewhere in Cyprus and at the same time to get close to the EOKA group to find the hiding place of Grivas. Two most dangerous tasks. The lost gospel has for many centuries been the cause of death of people that came close to it or were about to learn the contents of it, facts that must be highly able to upset the entire Christian world. But this is another story.
The film tells about the intrigues by the British in high positions in Cyprus, about recruiting Turkish men as police forces to fight the Greek rebels and Eoka; the development of hatred against the British; Eoka creating mistrust and hate among the citizens; the first attacks and dead among the Turks and the recruiting of young men willing to defend their country and counterattack. A scenery to guarantee high tension for the viewer. All mixed with love and betrayal, with killing and bloodshed. Some pictures overdrawn in its dramatic message, for example the green apple rolling from the dead’s hands into a pool of glittering red blood. But you can feel the fear in the scenes where the women are fleeing from their houses with their suitcases full of family photos instead of practical things, the establishing of refugee camps and the primitive living conditions, the feeling of relief when the Turkish troops are landing (true documentary clips). Jasmine is drawn into the conflicts through personal attachments and finally conviction and love.
I will not tell you more about the film and I will refrain from making any critical remarks; it is the story of suffering of the Cypriot people in a concentrated and accelerated form.
The message of this film? In my personal opinion it is aimed to show how a people can be manipulated by an idea, how they can be made to turn against his former friends and brothers and how single fanatic individualists can bring unrest, hate among people, so that they even kill their own kind. At the end of the film it is said what became of the main characters to make it look like a documentary which it is, basically.