Yılmaz Güney

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Yılmaz Güney
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Full Name: Yılmaz Pütün
Alias: Yılmaz Güney
The Ugly King
Origin: Yenice, Karataş, Turkey
Occupation: Film director
Screenwriter
Actor
Skills: Acting
Murder skills
Hobby: Smoking
Planning
Goals: To establish independent Kurdistan (Failed)
Crimes: Treason
Terrorism
Murder
War Crimes
Type of Villain: Terrorist and Murderer


We will win! We will surely win!
~ Yılmaz Güney

Yılmaz Güney (April 1th, 1937 – September 9th, 1984) was a Kurdish film director, scenarist, novelist, and actor of Zaza Kurdish origin, who produced movies in Turkish. He quickly rose to prominence in Turkish Film Industry. Many of his works were devoted to the plight of ordinary, working class people in Turkey. Yılmaz Güney won the Palme d'Or with the film Yol he co-produced with Şerif Gören at Cannes Film Festival in 1982. He was at constant odds with the Turkish government because of his portrayals of Kurdish culture, people and language in his movies. After killing a judge in 1974 and being convicted, he fled the country and later lost his citizenship.

Background

Yılmaz Güney was born in 1937 in the Yenice county of Adana. His father was a Zaza Kurd from Siverek and his mother was a Kurd from Varto. His parents migrated to Adana to work as cotton field laborers. As a result of his family background, young Yılmaz grew among the working class. This was a strong background for his future works which generally focused on a realistic portrayal of downtrodden and marginalized strata of the population in the country. Güney studied law and economics at the universities of Ankara and Istanbul, but by the age of 21 he found himself actively involved in film-making.

Career in Turkey

As Yeşilçam, the Turkish studio system, a handful of directors, including Atıf Yılmaz, began to use cinema as a means of addressing the problems of the people. State-sanctioned melodramas, war films, and play adaptations had mostly previously been played in Turkish theaters. These new filmmakers began to shoot and screen more realistic pictures of Turkish/Kurdish life. Yılmaz Güney was one of the most popular names to emerge from this trend, a gruff-looking young actor who earned the moniker Çirkin Kral ("the Ugly King" in Turkish) or "paşay naşirîn" in Kurdish. After working as an apprentice screenwriter for and assistant to Atıf Yılmaz, Güney soon began appearing in as many as 20 films a year and became Turkey's one of the most popular actors.

The early 1960s brought restricted freedom to Turkey, and Güney was imprisoned from 1960 to 1962.In prison he wrote what some labeled a "communist" novel, They Died with Their Heads Bowed. The country's political situation and Güney's relationship with the authorities became even more tense in the ensuing years. Not content with his star status atop the Turkish film industry, Güney began directing his own pictures in 1965. By 1968 he had formed his own production company, Güney Filmcilik. Over the next few years, the titles of his films mirrored the feelings of the people of Turkey: Umut (Hope, 1970); Ağıt (Elegy, 1972); Acı (Pain, 1971); The Hopeless (1971). Umut is considered to be the first realistic film of Turkish Cinema, the American director Elia Kazan was among the fist to praise the film; “Umut is a poetic film, completely native, not an imitation of Hollywood or any of the European masters, it had risen out of a village environment”.

After 1972, however, Güney would spend most of his life in prison. Arrested for harboring anarchist students,Güney was jailed during preproduction of Zavallılar (The Miserable, 1975), and before completing Endişe (Worry, 1974), which was finished in 1974 by Güney's assistant, Şerif Gören. This was a role that Gören would repeat over the next dozen years, directing several scripts that Güney wrote in prison.

Released from prison in 1974 as part of a general amnesty, Güney was re-arrested that same year for shooting Sefa Mutlu, the public prosecutor of Yumurtalık district in Adana Province, to death in a night club as a result ofa drunken row and given a prison sentence of 19 years. During this stretch of incarceration, his most successful screenplays were Sürü (The Herd, 1978) and Düşman (The Enemy, 1979), both directed by Zeki Ökten. Düşman won an Honourable Mention at the 30th Berlin International Film Festival in 1980.

Güney's first marriage was with fellow Turkish actress, Nebahat Çehre, who co-starred alongside Güney in more thanseveral films. Their relationship began in 1964 and they married in 1967. Prior to his marriage, Güney fathered a daughter, Elif Güney Pütün, from his relationship with Birsen Can Ünal.

Despite Güney and Nebahat Çehre's divorce in 1968, many of those closest to Güney have always regarded Çehre to have been the love of his life.

Later, Güney married Jale Fatma Süleymangil, more commonly known as Fatoş Güney, in 1970. Together, they had a son, Remzi Yılmaz Pütün

Exile and death

47 years later in September 1980, Güney's works were banned by the new military junta. Güney declared,“There are only two possibilities: to fight or to give up, I chose to fight”. After escaping from prison in 1981 and fleeing to France, Güney won the Palme d'Or at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival for his film Yol, whose director in the field was once again Şerif Gören. It was not until 1983 that Güney resumed directing, telling a brutal tale of imprisoned children in his final film, Duvar (The Wall, 1983), made in France with the cooperation of the French government. Meanwhile, Turkey's government revoked his citizenship and a court sentenced him to twenty-two extra years in jail.

Yılmaz Güney died of gastric cancer in 1984, in Paris, France.

Gallery

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