Ben Hopkin’s latest film is a celebration of the Istanbul he once knew but is now disappearing. Commissioned to create a conventional doc of the city, Hopkins quickly finds himself drawn into its dark past.
The first film in our new strand comes from critically acclaimed director Ben Hopkins whose work spans both documentary and fiction filmmaking. He describes Hasret, his latest film as ‘a kind of supernatural expressionistic documentary about Istanbul’ in celebration of the city he once knew but is fast disappearing.
Initially commissioned by a German broadcaster Hopkins starts to film the city’s everyday life but soon becomes drawn to the darker, more mysterious side of the city, its past, its secrets, its ghosts. After a while, his crew abandons him to his obsession.
As he passes through from daylight to the darkness, from the living city on the surface to the city of the past, many aspects of Istanbul are touched upon: the destruction and renovation of old neighbourhoods, immigrant workers, resistance to the government, diverse religions and the peculiarly melancholy essence of Istanbul. Hasret is a beautifully constructed and multifaceted poem to an ancient city.
This new strand is a specially curated showcase featuring some of the most creative and visually inventive doc makers working today.