View Full Version : Kuba

03-03-2005, 13:20:57

This film sounds pretty amazing - some incredible real-life stories. Reminds me of One hundred Years of Solitude, it has an almost surrealistic quality to it.

I am very interested in people who lie, and embellish stories about themselves. It's like watching a play being freshly written in front of you - that, to me, is where real drama is. In my new project, Kuba, I wanted to explore how this is something that can be done as a community.
Kuba is a Kurdish shantytown in the northwest of Istanbul. It is very poor: buildings are made of corrugated iron and brick, and there are no fixed roads so it changes constantly. It isn't really a place - it's a metaphor. No one really knows where the name comes from. Some say it is because the community is like an island republic resisting the rest of the world; others that it started when people saw Little Havana on Miami Vice.

Arife is an amazing character. She was the blood sister of Hatun, one of Kuba's community leaders, to whom she was number two during the 1970s. Whenever Hatun went out to the prisons, visiting her sons or her husband, Arife would stay behind and take care of the smaller children. She's not as angry or political as Hatun, but she's very witty and very tough - and a natural storyteller.

The first time I met her, she told me this story about a group of women living in the high-rises on the outskirts of Kuba. They were very religious, completely pious - and they were terrified of their husbands. Arife said to them: "I have this religious video I have received. Let me show it to you on my VCR." She has a lot of stolen goods.

So she let these seven or eight women into her house, and put on a triple-X porno film that her son had brought back from Germany. The women were shocked, of course, and to begin with they pretended not to be watching - but then they peeked a little because they were curious. All the women of Kuba gathered outside to watch them from the window to see how they were reacting.

When the women came out, they were all very upset with Arife, of course. But then the next day - and I don't know if this is true - their husbands all came to her and said: "Thank you, I had the best night ever last night." That story sounds unbelievable, but there are a lot of unbelievable stories.