I was invited to present a seminar at Istanbul Bilgi University on 25 October 2010
Melancholy, nostalgia and hysteria are mental states that are intricate parts of social and cultural life in Turkey. This paper examines representations and expressions of melancholy alongside related affects such as nostalgia and solastalgia in Turkish cinema. The argument of this paper is that the popularity of the melancholic mode in the arts has broader implications on Turkish cultural identity than its face value might suggest. It points to a collective state of melancholy, or rather a plurality of melancholies that marks the cultural psyche of Turkey. Film, in its capacity to reach mass audiences, is an excellent art form to investigate the influence of melancholy in Turkish culture and identity. This paper presents a look at urban melancholy and the concept of “solastalgia” – a recent term signifying the inability to find solace in one’s own home - in Turkish film through analyses of Halit Refiğ’s Gurbet Kuşları (1964) and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Uzak (2002).