A longing for democracy

„Taksim is everywhere, resistance is everywhere.“ 
In early summer 2013, thousands of mainly younger people from across all political persuasions demonstrated against the destruction of Gezi Park in Istanbul. What began as a protest against a construction project quickly turned into a wider protest against the policies of the Erdogan government. The government violently suppressed the demonstrations in Gezi Park and near-by Taksim Square.

Ahmed Q4A9948copyright TanKurttekin Kopie

Biene Pilavci and Ayla Gottschlich, two young German-Turkish filmmakers, happened to witness the events and shot images, putting themselves at great personal risk. Still, they decide to stay and continue to follow some of the demonstrators.

There is young Bimen, an Armenian resident of Istanbul. He joined the protests, as the remains of an Armenian cemetery were to be removed for the construction project. Tamer is a journalist who lost his job as a consequence of refusing to falsify his account of the protests. Months later he finds work with a private Kurdish broadcaster, but he considers his prospects in Turkey dire. Rojda is spokeswoman for the Muslim anti capitalist movement, who are opposed to Erdogan’s authoritarian leadership and who favour common wheel policies rather than encouraging private property.

Rojda Q4A7316copyright GurayVarol Kopie

Biene Pilavci and Ayla Gottschlich have followed these and other protagonists of the democracy movement up to the parliamentary elections of August 2014. ARTE and ZDF will present this portrait of the young democracy movement to coincide with the general elections on 7th June this year.

Melek Q4A7759copyright TanKurttekin klein

CHRONICLE OF A REVOLT is a film about the hope, dreams, fears and the braveness of young Istanbul citizens who are fighting for a self-determined life. For Erdogan they are still „Capulcus“ - scum. ZDF will transmit the full 83-minute festival version during its Das Kleine Fernsehspiel slot a day after the elections in Turkey. ARTE will
broadcast a 57-minute version for its geo-politics slot.

Tamer I1A0078copyright TanKurttekin Kopie

technical details
Germany, 83‘, 57‘, 2015, shooting format: HD/25 fps, screening formats: DCP / 24 fps/ Bluray/ 25 fps, Audio stereo OV, Languages: Turkish with German VO and with German and English subtitles Turkish VO with German and English subtitles

Bimen Q4A7497copyright GurayVarol klein

script, director, editor
Biene Pilavcı, Ayla Gottschlich
dop Tan Kurttekin, Fatih Pınar, Armin Dierolf, Güray Varol, Ersin Aldemir
sound Erkal Taşkın
music Cornelius Schwehr
sounddesign and sound re-recording mixing Jan Pasemann
production Soilfilms
co-production Parcours Pictures
line producer Yüksel Yılmaz
production Manager Yüksel Yılmaz, Aysel Yılmaz
commissioning Editor Kathrin Brinkmann (ZDF/ARTE Thema), Burkhard Althoff (ZDF-DAS KLEINE FERNSEHSPIEL) 

Director's statement
A night in Gezi Park. People drinking tea and talking in hushed tones. Others are busy with organisational stuff, or don't know what to do. But the most is watching a screening of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. Suddenly, as the scene with the dictator's final speech comes up, everyone gets up, jubilant, applauds, and hugs their neighbour. In spite of being exhausted and being total strangers.


A strong group feeling can shift mountains. Overcoming self-interest and serving a cause requires dedication, courage and idealism. But a group identity should also be approached with caution. Ideals can be isolated and abused for other underlying causes, one of winch could be complete self-abandonment just in order to avoid any feeling of loneliness and profit as long as possible from the elation provided by group harmony. Human beings are often yearning for harmony to such an extent that they may become emotionally dependent on the feeling of harmony, leading to self-betrayal and self-despair.
The film's protagonists are confronted by the same conflict, it is part of basic human nature. We are not part of The Great Dictator - The Movie. It is these human aspects of an attempted system change that interest me as a filmmaker. How will these people progress once they emancipate themselves from increasing group pressure? Perhaps it's not about emancipation, but more about stamina? People deal with change individually. Euphoria can become mundane. You have to learn how not to become jaded with euphoria.
The formation of my own political consciousness goes back to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The subsequent racist attacks in Hoyerswerda, Rostock, Mölln and Solingen, environmental degradation and animal cruelty in agribusiness mobilise me within a radical leftist political spectrum. I am shocked by the assassination of activist Carlo Giuliani during the G8 summit in Genoa. Shortly afterwards the two towers in New York collapse and I'm left helpless. I start again, and I'm still searching.

I was touched, yet unable to empathise with their emotional exuberance when the people in Gezi hugged. My own fear before the storm being too big, I'm terrified of getting instrumentalised by other interest groups. I mistrust exaggerated hope which one group cannot fulfil, let alone an entire movement. Yes, I have experienced myself getting lost in some questionable sentiment of „us“. I am aware of hope and of how it is dashed. It's why I have become a filmmaker. Someone, who observes and makes a deliberate attempt not get involved. It's what I am best at.

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