Int. J. Middle East Stud. 46 (2014), 473–488
KURDISH CINEMA AS A TRANSNATIONAL DISCOURSE GENRE: CINEMATIC VISIBILITY, CULTURAL RESILIENCE, AND POLITICAL AGENCY
Within the last few years, “Kurdish cinema” has emerged as a unique discursive subject in Turkey. Subsequent to and in line with efforts to unify Kurdish cultural production in diaspora, Kurdish intellectuals have endeavored to define and frame the substance of Kurdish cinema as an orienting framework for the production and reception of films by and about Kurds. In this article, my argument is threefold. First, Kurdish cinema has emerged as a national cinema in transnational space. Second, like all media texts, Kurdish films are nationalized in discourse. Third, the communicative strategies used to nationalize Kurdish cinema must be viewed both in the context of the historical forces of Turkish nationalism and against a backdrop of contemporary politics in Turkey, specifically the Turkish government’s discourses and policies related to the Kurds. The empirical data for this article derive from ethnographic research in Turkey and Europe conducted between 2009 and 2012.
which media producers and consumers, intellectuals, and academics debated the norms of Kurdish cinema. Within this transnational discourse, Kurdish cinema crystallized into a distinct genre, a prism through which films were either subsumed or refracted.
… what they include and exclude; how they choose to frame matters; the assumptions and presuppositions they make.”5 An example I use to explore this process is the 1926 film Zare´, which is often characterized as the first film in Kurdish national cinema, even though it was produced by an Armenian director. Third, the communicative strategies used to nationalize Kurdish cinema must be viewed both in the context of the historical forces of Turkish nationalism and against a backdrop of contemporary politics in Turkey, specifically the AKP government’s discourses and policies related to the Kurds. I analyze how and to what end films are recentered within the scope of a Kurdish cinema genre. Kurdish activists’ ongoing urge to pinpoint Kurds in visual history critically informs the discourse they use to nationalize films. In that discourse, the Kurdish language as the diegetic language of contemporary films appears as a manifestation of historical
visibility, political agency, and cultural resilience.
in which “the hyphen between [the nation and the state] has become reconfigured by capital mobility and migration” rather than directly assuming that mobility and migration negate the validity of nations as organizing principles of collectivities.9
diaspora organizations continued to launch new stations, which have been significant building blocks for the Kurdish public space, transcending national borders in the various
centers of the diaspora.12
cultural spaces and the material resources, provided by the British government, that promoted multiculturalist policies and integrationist agendas for immigrant communities. The particular citizenship model the British state employed in relation to immigrants, as Christian Joppke notes, required the government to promote policies that left large room for immigrant communities to organize cultural activities through which they come to participate in the fabric of British society.15 Kurdish immigrants in the United Kingdom organized in cultural and community centers sponsored largely by the British government in line with its official policies of multiculturalism.16
film festival came out.”23 Ghobadi is a Kurdish filmmaker and a citizen of Iran. In 2000, his debut film received the Camera d’Or prize at Cannes, perhaps the most prestigious and most scrutinized film event in Europe. The film narrates the tragic story of Kurdish children who struggle to earn their lives by smuggling goods across the border of Iran and Iraq. Attending several other festivals that year, Ghobadi became well known in international film circles.24 Appadurai calls this culture of circulation, which in this case intersected with a uniquely articulated Kurdish ethnoscape that stimulated Kurdish cinema discourse, a mediascape. International film festivals, as mediascapes,25 create circuits of production, distribution, dissemination, and consumption, enabling the transnational mobility of images.
as a means to pinpoint the transient existence of Kurds within a politically charged geography, Ghobadi has contributed to the institutionalization of the discursive parameters of Kurdish cinema and established himself as a central figure in this emerging genre.
in a “Kurdish” film festival, according to the organizers of the event, was “part of the larger Kurdish struggle to exist and become visible.”32 They conducted research on films about and/or by Kurds with the aim of reclaiming them as part of a Kurdish cultural legacy. After encountering a reference to Zare´ in an online article, Gundo ¨ gdu ˘ contacted Armenian officials to inquire about the film. In 2006, after tedious bureaucratic maneuvering with the Armenian government, he finally managed to salvage a print of the film from the Armenian national archives. At a well-publicized screening at the fourth London Kurdish Film Festival, viewers saw what was billed as the first film ever produced about the Kurds. Retrieving Zare´ from Armenian national archives, according to Gundo ¨ gdu, proved that the London Kurdish Film Festival had achieved its founding ˘ mission: to make Kurds visible within the pages of history. Launching a national cinema
in transnational space, the festival formed a significant platform on which Kurdish cinema as a discursive formation was crystallized. Zare´ came to occupy a prominent place in this genre.
ignorant, feudal, and folkloric. These criteria are by no means clear-cut and they often create disagreement rather than consensus. Nonetheless, critics utilize at least one, and often a combination, of them as a prism through which to evaluate and rank specific films vis-a-vis their “Kurdishness.”
in their depiction in his film. Zare´ reflected the Soviet policies of its time, which sought to tame and absorb an undifferentiated, so-called primitive folk into Stalin’s orbit.35
films, as it effectively “[s]orts through the rubble created by cultural dislocation and reads significance in what official history overlooks.”40 By visually marking Kurdish existence in the 1920s, Zare,´ regardless of its content, becomes an iconic reflection of the Kurds and sets a milestone for the visual representation of the Kurds as a people. Telescoping a visual history, Zare´ underlines the subsequent omission of Kurds from the social landscape and the cultural imagination of the respective nation-states they inhabit. The film thus helps shed light on the prolific film production based on identity politics today.
during the 1990s the amateur filmmaking efforts at MKM were similar to the national cinema movements of any other colonized and poor people.41 Such national cinemas, he emphasized, “often started in tents.” Even though MKM’s filmmaking efforts began with shoddy equipment and an amateur spirit, by producing several films and videos and offering cinema workshops to a new generation of Kurdish youth, MKM’s cinema unit helped initiate a national Kurdish cinema. Directors such as Kazim Oz and Huseyin ¨ Karabey, whose names appear regularly in discussions of Kurdish cinema, emerged out of MKM’s cinema unit during the 1990s.42
Arslan argued in her talk that the reappearance of Kurds on the silver screen in the 1990s was contingent on the Kurdish political movement. Underlining the significance of two Kurdish cultural institutions, she connected Kurdish cinema and the visual culture renascent in the 1990s with the larger Kurdish movement. In the nineties, we see a significant turning point: the launch of MED-TV [Kurdish TV broadcasting from Europe]. MED-TV made Kurds seen and Kurdish heard. The same year, in 1995, the first cinema workshop was held in the Mesopotamia Culture Center [the first Kurdish culture center in Istanbul] … In 1999, Ax, the first film completely in Kurdish,46 was produced by Kazim Oz and ¨ Mesopotamia Cinema. This is very important.
The remainder of her presentation discussed the current state of Kurdish cinema, posing an overarching question of who is entitled to (visually) represent the Kurds, that is, whose films are within the boundaries of Kurdish cinema. By encapsulating Kurdish cinema as crystallized through the institutions of the political movement, she brought into her presentation new criteria for evaluating films. The Kurdish language, for instance, became a significant parameter in calibrating intertexual links within the genre after her discussion of Zare´, which signified Kurdish cultural resilience through the omission of Kurds from cinematic landscape following the film’s production in 1926. Arslan utilized a media text to reconfigure the larger discursive genre of Kurdish cinema, and the recontextualization of Zare´ functioned to legitimize the conventions asserted in evaluating films produced today. As Briggs and Bauman note, “genres are not road maps to particular texts. Invocations of genre rather entail the (re)construction of classes of texts … By choosing to make certain features explicit (and particularly by foregrounding some elements through repetition and metapragmatic framing), producers of discourse actively (re)construct and reconfigure genres.”47 Following this logic, Arslan’s construction of Zare´ as the first Kurdish film was a successful strategy. Historical anxieties about the visibility of Kurds inform the ways in which Zare´ is recentered in Kurdish cinematic discourse. This recentering of Zare´ as foundational to Kurdish cinematic discourse works as a strategy that helps Arslan legitimize the criteria she proposes to evaluate the Kurdishness of contemporary films, which are based primarily on the degree to which a film renders Kurds “visible.”
THE KURD ISH LANGUAGE AS A S IGN OF CULTURAL RES IL IENCE AND POLITICAL AGENCY
In 2009, another event that sought to institutionalize Kurdish cinema took place, this time in Diyarbakır. The Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality organized the First International Kurdish Cinema Conference between 4 and 13 December. With significant sponsorship from the Swedish consulate, a country with a large Kurdish diasporic community, the conference hosted guests including filmmakers, academics, and journalists. After a week of film screenings, audiences filled the conference hall of the municipality building for two consecutive days to attend panels and discussions on Kurdish cinema. These symposia sought to frame an emergent national cinema with such questions as “What is Kurdish cinema?,” “What defines a Kurdish film?,” and “What unifies it?”
During the coffee break that followed the conference’s first morning session, Hasan, a Kurdish media producer in his late thirties, who seemed animated by the discussions and somewhat irritated by the ineffective answers offered by the panels of filmmakers, writers, and academics, volunteered his own answers to me:
They are missing the most important point. It is not the theme or the characters that give a film its identity. Are we then going to call Midnight Express a Turkish film, just because the story is set in Turkey and there are Turkish characters in it? … What determines the nationality of a film is nothing else but the language of that film.
Even if the American director of Midnight Express (1978), Alan Parker, had been Turkish, according to Hasan, the language of this film would have determined the national cinema under which it would need to be classified. According to Hasan, language gave a film, and a nation, its “true character.” If a film was not in Kurdish, no matter what, it could not be considered part of Kurdish cinema. In calling a film “authentically Kurdish,” Hasan posited the Kurdish language as an emblem according to the semiotic process of iconization, through which certain features that index social groups or activities “appear to be iconic representations of them, as if a linguistic feature somehow depicted or displayed a social group’s inherent nature or essence.”48 Hasan favored one particular feature over others in categorizing films, delimiting the nationality of a film by virtue of the spoken language in its diegetic world, thus choosing this index as an emblematic icon of Kurdishness.
In addition to being an iconized index of the nationality of films, the Kurdish language and the discussion of language transpire in several ways within Kurdish cinema discourse. First, discussions of Kurdish cinema are almost always held in Turkish. The Kurdish language, by virtue of its absence, metalinguistically frames the discourse about Kurdish cinema. For instance, Kemal Yıldız, the moderator of a panel in Diyarbakır, opened the dialogue by stating the following in Turkish: “I am very happy to welcome you to the first international Kurdish cinema conference. Unfortunately, I cannot welcome you in my own language, Kurdish.”49 Almost all of the panelists on that panel, in one form or another, underlined the lack of the Kurdish language in their utterances. These metalinguistic assertions centered the respective discourse and its subject matter on issues of language and identity, and signified the ruptures in the speakers’ national imagination produced by nation-state policies and official histories.
Second, interlocutors pinpointed the Kurdish language issue in films in order to index the cultural resilience of the Kurds despite those ruptures. In many utterances, the Kurdish language was portrayed as having an inherent potential to survive the ruptures it had experienced. Commentators noted the importance of the cultural spaces created and enlarged by the Kurdish political movement in fostering the resilient nature of the Kurdish language.
There have been numerous examples of the role of Kurdish cultural spaces in fostering the resilience of the language, and the role of the resilience of the Kurdish language in promulgating Kurdish political and cultural advances against state oppression. One such example occurred shortly after the Diyarbakır conference, at the opening night ceremonies of a municipal Kurdish film festival held in the small Kurdish town of Batman. As these events are sponsored by local municipalities, it is customary for the municipal leader to give a short speech during the opening reception to welcome guests. Batman’s municipal leader, Nejdet Atalay, was unable to perform this custom as he had been arrested earlier in the year during a crackdown against the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (Koma Ciwaken Kurdistan or KCK). ´ 50 Instead, Atalay sent a letter from prison to be read in his absence:
This festival is a serious challenge for young Kurdish cinema producers at a time when the Kurdish language is humiliated as “an unknown language”51 … I believe that transcending all boundaries and despite all the humiliation and denial it has faced, the Kurdish language will find its much deserved place in cinema just like it will in every other area.
Even though the institutions of the Turkish state continued to disparage and dismiss Kurdish, Atalay wrote, holding a Kurdish film festival in and of itself signified Kurdish resilience and the enduring capacity of the Kurdish language. In addition to highlighting its resilient nature, Atalay’s message posited the Kurdish language as both a battlefield and a weapon Kurds might use to gain further visibility and recognition.
The linguistic dimensions of genres should be seen “in terms of ideologically mediated connections with social groups and ‘spheres of human activity’ in historical perspective.”52 Linguistic ethnonationalism circumscribes the fields of Kurdish cultural production, hence the references to language in Kurdish cinematic discourse. Stanley Tambiah explains linguistic ethnonationalism as a political process of the 20th century in particular that attests to the existence of a “consubstantial identity between a collectivity of people and the language they speak and transmit.”
Linguistic ethnonationalism, a strong motivator and advocate of claims of collective entitlements and preferential policies in nineteenth and twentieth century worldwide politics, has a weighty bearing on the double question of how a language relates to the world (to reality) and also how it relates to its speakers, the relation between words and things and between words and human beings.53
According to Tambiah, linguistic ethnonationalism occurs as a reaction to nation-state projects that subsume ethnic identities in favor of one normative identity and creates in people “a strong sense that their language and their oral and literary productions— poetry, myths, folklore, epics, and philosophical, religious/historical/scientific texts— are intimately, integrally, and essentially connected with them as owners, creators, and sharers of that legacy.”54 From a historical perspective, the construction of Kurdish language as an icon of the nation is subsequent to the forces of Turkish nationalism. During the early years of the republic, parallel to the myth of the Turks as a superior race, a myth about the Kurds was created. Within the official narrative, Kurds were considered to be Turks but in a deviant and degenerate form. Gunter summarizes the official narrative:
Isolated in their mountain fastness, the Kurds had simply forgotten their mother tongue [Turkish]. ‘Kurdish’ supposedly contained fewer than some eight hundred words and thus was not a real language. Indeed, the very word ‘Kurd’ was said to be nothing more than a corruption of the crunching sound (kirt, kart, or kurt) one made while walking through the snow-covered mountains in the south-east.55
Mesut Yegen notes that the young Turkish state perceived Kurds as prospective Turks ˘ and worked to civilize its Kurdish population into Turkishness through a constellation of state policies, from resettlement to the ban on the Kurdish language.56 The immediate political context of the festival, marked by the KCK trials and peace talks with the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on the other hand, circumscribed the evocations of consubstantial language as a sign of both cultural resilience and political agency. Claiming the Kurdish language becomes an arena of resilience and agency, manifesting in diverse areas of cultural politics and crystallizing in courtrooms or through film.
In the last few years, “Kurdish cinema” has achieved discursive currency in the cinematic circles of Turkey. As the government’s self-repositioning vis-a-vis Kurds has dominated ` Turkish political discussions, Kurds, the Kurdish language, and Kurdish culture have become topics of interest in popular culture. As films by and about Kurds have presented entry points to the Kurdish issue, the increased visibility of Kurdish films and filmmakers has stimulated discourse among Kurdish cultural activists about a distinct Kurdish cinema. While Kurdish films and filmmakers came to occupy increasing space in national film festivals and attracted attention within liberal Turkish cinema circles, Kurdish intellectuals and media producers undertook efforts to define, frame, and institutionalize Kurdish cinema.
Even though Kurdish cinema discourse has arisen within the last few years in Turkey, it was subsequent to and in line with efforts to nationalize Kurdish films in diaspora during the early 2000s. Kurdish cinema as a discursive space has always been transnational by nature, in the absence of an official state that creates and regulates a national cinema industry to enable film production. In addition to working within the Turkish, Iranian, and Iraqi film industries, Kurdish filmmakers have navigated means of global production and distribution to engage in their media practices. In fact, transnational circumstances have, in part, generated the conditions for the nationalization of Kurdish culture, language, and art. The London Kurdish Film Festival, a significant site of Kurdish cinematic discourse in transnational space, illustrates this. The ways in which Kurdish intellectuals in London organized themselves around a cinematic culture and brought Zare´ from the Armenian national archives to become the bedrock of Kurdish cinema reveal the role of transnational conditions in the nationalization of Kurdish films at the intersections of different cultures of circulation.
Kurdish intellectuals, cultural activists, and media producers and consumers who actively participate in the current discussions on Kurdish cinema endeavor to historicize Kurdish cinema. Created selectively in the present, such history reflects longstanding collective anxieties as well as current contestations. Zare´ is considered to establish the beginning of Kurdish cinema. The discourse that nationalizes Zare´ points to the significant capacity of visual media in rendering Kurds “visible,” highlights the gap between the 1920s and the 1990s, and in turn signifies the inherent political agency involved in returning Kurds to the visual landscape in the 1990s. As they seek out origins, Kurdish cinema activists reclaim certain films as Kurdish, interlink them with one other, and craft a Kurdish cinema by defining conventions, setting boundaries, and ordaining inclusions and exclusions. The Kurdish language, for instance, transpires as a significant criterion to determine the Kurdishness of a film. While language is an immediate point of reference to signify a media text as Kurdish, the diegetic world of Kurdish films that often emanate from Kurdish experience frequently accommodates languages in addition to Kurdish. Regardless, historical anxieties as well as the immediate political context point to the Kurdish language as a significant aspect of the genre.
“Kurdish cinema” emerges as a genre, an orienting framework for the production and reception of films by and about Kurds, and the discourse that generates this genre simultaneously unifies and fragments it, as discursive agreements and disagreements about the past and present of Kurdish cinema materialize.57 During these discussions, interlocutors recontextualize films and establish and manage relationships between them. Discursive agents’ calibration of links in connecting particular texts to a broader genre structures and (re)constructs the genre under discussion. These strategies of recontextualization, which agents employ in producing discourse about Kurdish films, help engender an emergent genre, encapsulate the rules of discursive formation in Kurdish cinema, and reveal what is at stake in the confluences and conflicts that ensue in such discourse.
Author’s note: The research on which this article is based was supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Indiana University Office of International Programs, and a David C. Skomp Fieldwork Grant. I appreciate the feedback of numerous friends, colleagues, and especially the thoughtful reviewers and editors of this journal. I bear all responsibility for the views and materials presented in this article.
1The “Opening” project included establishing Kurdish language departments in public universities, reassigning Kurdish villages their names in Kurdish, and launching a state-run Kurdish television channel, TRT 6. See Demokratik Ac¸ılım: Soruları ve Cevaplarıyla Demokratik Ac¸ılım Sureci ¨ (AKP Tanıtım ve Medya Bas¸kanlıgı, 2010), http://www.demokratikacilimkitabi.com/ (accessed 20 September 2010). Many Kurdish ˘ political activists harshly criticized the Kurdish Opening because of the government’s disregard for the institutions of the Kurdish nationalist movement, including the pro-Kurdish political party in parliament, while it lays the groundwork of the new political reality. Criticisms have escalated with the arrest of numerous Kurdish politicians, intellectuals, and journalists for alleged membership in the KCK (Koma Ciwaken Kurdistan- ´ the Union of Communities in Kurdistan), considered to be the urban wing of the PKK. Because of such contradictory political behavior on the part of the AKP-led government, the Kurdish Opening is often seen as an attempt by the state to co-opt the Kurds.
2For a list of Kurdish film festivals in Europe and North America, see “Kurdish Film Festivals across the World,” http://www.kurdishcinema.com/Festivals.html (accessed 25 March 2014).
3Mujde Arslan, ed., ¨ Kurt Sineması: Yurtsuzluk, Sınır ve ¨ Ol ¨ um¨ [Kurdish Cinema: Homelessness, Borders, and Death] (Istanbul: Agora Kitaplıgı, 2009). ˘
4Charles L. Briggs and Richard Bauman, “Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 2 (1992): 149.
5Susan Hayward, “Framing National Cinemas,” in Cinema and Nation, ed. Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 91.
6Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 49.
8Michael Featherstone, ed., Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization, and Modernity (London: Sage, 1990), 1.
9Aiwa Ong, Flexible Citizenship: Cultural Logic of Transnationality (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999), 11.
10Bilgin Ayata, “Kurdish Transnational Politics and Turkey’s Changing Kurdish Policy: The Journey of Kurdish Broadcasting from Europe to Turkey,” Journal of Contemporary European Studies 19 (2011): 526.
10Bilgin Ayata, “Kurdish Transnational Politics and Turkey’s Changing Kurdish Policy: The Journey of Kurdish Broadcasting from Europe to Turkey,” Journal of Contemporary European Studies 19 (2011): 526.
11Amir Hassanpour, “Satellite Footprints as National Borders: MED-TV and the Extraterritoriality of State Sovereignty,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 18 (1998): 58.
13Hamid Naficy’s analysis of transnational ethnic film festivals applies to Kurdish film festivals in Europe. Naficy writes that “by showing a number of films to insider and outsider audiences over a short time, and by bringing together filmmakers, producers, financiers, and media critics, [ethnic film festivals] make a claim on public consciousness, facilitate collective identity formation, and enable the kind of discursive and financial networking that encourages further productions.” Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001), 65.
14Mustafa Gundogdu, interview, 13 December 2009, Diyarbakır. ˘
15Christian Joppke, “Multiculturalism and Immigration: A Comparison of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain,” Theory and Society 25 (1996): 449–500.
16For a detailed account of Kurdish organizations in the United Kingdom, see Bahar Baser, “Kurdish Diaspora Political Activism in Europe with a Particular Focus on Great Britain,” in Diaspora Dialogues for Development and Peace, Berghof Peace Support and Center for Just Peace and Democracy (Berlin: Berghof Peace Support, 2011).
18Gundogdu, interview, Diyarbakır. ˘
19Benjamin Lee and Edward LiPuma, “Cultures of Circulation: The Imaginations of Modernity,” Public Culture 14 (2002): 191–213.
22Appadurai, Modernity at Large, 33.
23Mustafa Gundo ¨ gdu, interview, 5 November 2009, London. ˘
24For a discussion of Ghobadi’s film production at the interstices of national and global cinema industries, see Asuman Suner, “Outside In: ‘Accented Cinema’ at Large,” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 7 (2006): 363–82.
25Appadurai, Modernity at Large, 35.
26Dilip Parameshwar Goankar and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, “Technologies of Public Forms: Circulation, Transfiguration, Recognition,” Public Culture 15 (2003): 391.
27Quoted in Chris Kutschera, “Iran Kurdistan: Bahman Ghobadi and the Pain of Giving Birth to Kurdish Cinema,” Kutschera 30 Years of Journalism (2003), http://www.chris-kutschera.com/A/bahman_ghobadi.htm (accessed 15 August 2012).
28Appadurai, Modernity at Large, 3.
29Gundogdu, interview, London. ˘
30Faye Ginsburg discusses such social and political functions of cinema in relation to the Aboriginal communities in Australia. See Faye Ginsburg, “Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or Global Village?,” Cultural Anthropology 6 (1991): 104; and idem, “Embedded Aesthetics: Creating a Discursive Space for Indigenous Media,” Cultural Anthropology 9 (1994): 365–82.
31Amir Hassanpour, “Satellite Footprints as National Borders: MED-TV and the Extraterritoriality of State Sovereignty,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 18 (1998): 53–72.
32Mustafa Gundogdu, interview, 20 April 2012, Istanbul. ˘
33These sites of observation include the Diyarbakır Kurdish Cinema Conference in 2009, the Batman Yılmaz Guney Kurdish Short Film Festival in 2010, the Dersim Human Rights Film Festival in 2011, the ¨ London Kurdish Film Festival in 2009, cinema workshops in Mesopotamia Cinema in 2010 and 2011, and other film screenings, informal panels, and talks on Kurdish cinema between 2009 and 2012.
34Arstvi Bakchinyan, “Ermenistan Sinemasında Kurt Renkleri,” in ¨ Kurt Sineması: Yurtsuzluk, Sınır ve ¨ Ol ¨ um¨ , ed. Mujde Arslan (Istanbul: Agora Kitaplı ¨ gı 2009), 43. ˘
35Rohat Alakom, “Kurtleri Anlatan ¨ ˙Ilk Film Zare,” ´ Kurt Sineması: Yurtsuzluk, Sınır ve ¨ Ol ¨ um¨ , ed. Mujde ¨ Arslan (Istanbul: Agora Kitaplıgı, 2009). ˘
36Bill Nichols, Representing Reality (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1991), 153. 37Hayward, “Framing National Cinemas,” 91.
38Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie, “Introduction,” in Hjort and MacKenzie, Cinema and Nation, 4.
39Pierre Nora, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire,” Representations 26 (1989): 7–24.
40Laura Marks, The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000), 28.
41Ibrahim Gurb ¨ uz, interviews, January 2009 and June 2010, Istanbul. ¨
42Scholarship on Kurdish cinema remains limited. However, Tim Kennedy discusses Kurdish cinema from a historical and comparative perspective, in “Cinema Regarding Nations: Re-imagining Armenian, Kurdish, and Palestinian National Identity in Film” (PhD diss., University of Reading, 2007). For analyses of common thematic and aesthetic tendencies in Kurdish films, see, for example, Ozg ¨ ur C ¨ ¸ ic¸ek, “The Fictive Archive: Kurdish Filmmaking in Turkey,” Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (2011); and Ayc¸a C¸ iftc¸i, “Tahakkumden ¨ ˙Iktidara: Turkiye’de K ¨ urt Sinemasının Do ¨ gumu” (master’s thesis, Istanbul Bilgi University, ˘ 2008).
43For example, Mujde Arslan, ¨ Kurt Sineması: Yurtsuzluk, Sınır ve ¨ Ol ¨ um¨ [Kurdish Cinema: Homelessness, Borders, and Death] (Istanbul: Agora Kitaplıgı, 2009); and idem, “K ˘ urt Sinemasının Cesur ¨ Kadınları” [The Brave Women of Kurdish Cinema], Yeni Ozg ¨ ur Politika ¨ (2013), http://yeniozgurpolitika.org/ index.php?rupel=nuce&id=25261 (accessed 27 March 2014).
44Mujde Arslan, ¨ Ez Firiyam Tu Ma Li Cih (Istanbul: Asi Film, 2012).
45Musl ¨ um Y ¨ ucel discusses how, since the 1950s, Kurds were seen in Turkish cinema, including in legendary ¨ Kurdish director Yılmaz Guney’s films, not as Kurds but as feudal, rural subjects. See M ¨ usl ¨ um Y ¨ ucel, ¨ Turk ¨ Sinemasında Kurtler ¨ (Istanbul: Agora Kitaplıgı, 2008). ˘
46Ax (The Land) is a twenty-seven-minute film about the forced evacuations of Kurdish villages by the Turkish military, and revolves around an old man who refuses to leave his Kurdish village. Kazım Oz, ¨ Ax (Istanbul: Yapım 13, 1999).
47Charles L. Briggs and Richard Bauman, “Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 2 (1992): 148.
48Judith Irvine and Susan Gal, “Language Ideology and Linguistic Differentiation,” in Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities, ed. Paul V. Kroskrity (Santa Fe, N.Mex.: School of American Research Press, 2000), 37.
49Kemal Yıldız, 5 December 2009, Diyarbakır.
50Earlier in 2009, accused of involvement with the KCK, known as the PKK’s urban organization, several Kurdish municipal leaders were arrested. These politicians had declared that they would not testify in court unless they were allowed to do so in their native Kurdish language. Even though the original charges against them were not about the use of Kurdish language per se, many believed that they were arrested because of their involvement in institutions of the Kurdish movement that sought to legitimize the Kurdish language. Through such acts of civil disobedience as refusing to testify in Turkish, the Kurdish language became once again both a symbolic battlefield for the Kurdish movement and the means of producing Kurdish political agency.
51During the course of the KCK trials, when the detainees refused to testify in Turkish and spoke in Kurdish in court, the court minutes noted their utterances as “an unknown language.” Recent legislation has somewhat alleviated the crisis of Kurdish in the courtroom, as the detainee can now testify in her native language if she hires a translator to be present. “KCK davasında ‘bilinmeyen dil’ krizi” [Unknown Language Crisis in the KCK Suit], Radikal, 4 November 2010, http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx? aType=RadikalDetayV3&ArticleID=1027417&CategoryID=77 (accessed 15 August 2012).
52Briggs and Bauman, “Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power,” 145.
53Stanley Tambiah, “The Nation-State in Crisis and the Rise of Ethnonationalism,” in Politics of Difference, ed. Wilmsen and Patrick McAllister (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001 ), 131.
55Michael M. Gunter, The Kurds and the Future of Turkey (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), 6.
56Mesut Yegen, “Prospective-Turks or Pseudo-Citizens: Kurds in Turkey,” ˘ Middle East Journal 63 (2009): 599.
57See Briggs and Bauman, “Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power”; and especially Jane E. Goodman, “Writing Empire, Underwriting Nation: Discursive Histories of Kabyle Berber Oral Texts,” American Ethnologist 29 (2002): 86–122.