Exploring bold new works from filmmakers around the world, the 52nd New Directors/New Films, our annual festival co-presented with the Museum of Modern Art, officially kicks off on March 29. Ahead of the festival, get to know the filmmakers who speak to the present and anticipate the future of cinema.
Umut Subasi, director of Almost Entirely a Slight Disaster, shares a few words on his journey to becoming a filmmaker, inspirations in music and film, and more. Join Subasi in person for Q&As on April 4 & 5 at the film’s North American premiere.
What made you first want to be a director?
Umut Subasi: When I was seven I went to the cinema with my mother and father to watch Titanic. I was so impressed by it, and it also made me very sad. This experience didn’t lead me to become a film director though; I just begged my parents to buy me the soundtrack album. I listened to “My Heart Will Go On” over and over on my walkman and continued to be sad. The thing that made me think that I can be a director was discovering non-mainstream cinema.
Was there a film or director you were inspired by or continue to be inspired by?
Godard. Even the way he said goodbye to life.
In your own words, tell us about your film. What should audiences know?
It’s a film about unhappy young people and the malaise of a generation but isn’t a depressing one. I see humor as an important tool to endure all the difficulties and absurdities of life, so I tried to make a humorous and bittersweet film.
What does it mean to you to show your film at New Directors/New Films?
It’s thrilling because I know that now I am a part of such an inspiring history and a promising future.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Don’t be somebody else, be yourself. You’re much more beautiful like this.” These are lyrics from Turkish pop singer Tarkan’s song. I always listen to pop songs to get vital advice.
In contemporary Istanbul, a small group of interconnected millennials aimlessly grasp for love, work, friendship, and financial stability. They devote themselves to mindless games and romantic dead-ends while ignoring the larger world. Stuck in a cyclical rut, they aspire to escape from their problems but seem unable to do more than hope. In this trenchant, consistently surprising portrait of malaise pushed to near absurdity, debut feature filmmaker Umut Subasi uses a rigorous, deadpan aesthetic to tease out the melancholies and hypocrisies of his delicate foursome, whose lives intertwine and ricochet off one another. It’s a tale of urban chance and coincidence, shot through with sympathy and cathartic humor.
Umut Subasi’s Almost Entirely a Slight Disaster screens on April 4 and 5 with filmmaker Q&As. New Directors/New Films takes place March 29-April 9. Explore the lineup and get tickets, including a discounted 5-Film Package.