Turkish cinema scholar Erju Ackman in person at the May 4 screening to discuss the work of Yılmaz Güney!
In this return to territory explored in earlier films such as Law of the Border, Yılmaz Güney—again working as director, writer and lead actor—offers a tale about smugglers working in southeastern Turkey. Çobanoǧlu is a former peasant who took to smuggling in order to survive, made notorious by his success in eluding capture. The locals compete with each other to give information on Çobanoǧlu to the authorities for a price, while the landowners aren’t above hiring him for some of their own dirty work. Yet through it all, Çobanoǧlu keeps his dignity, convinced there must be some way out of this vicious cycle of corruption. Once again, Güney creates a powerful portrait of a society feeding on itself, destroying its own possibilities for reform or improvement. The use of landscapes recalls the look and work of Peckinpah, whose own, similarly themed The Wild Bunch had just been released.