Turkish Remakesploitation: Yeşilçam-era remakes of Hollywood cinema

In 1973, the prolific Turkish film producer Hulki Saner directed Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda (Ömer the Tourist in Star Trek, 1973), a recreation of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode ‘The Man Trap’ with comedian Sadri Alışık in the title role poking fun at Kirk and Spock. The following year the award-winning Turkish filmmaker Metin Erksan directed Şeytan, a near shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist albeit with the Catholic iconography replaced with Islam. These films were part of a wider global phenomenon known as ‘remakesploitation’ – low-budget exploitation film reworkings of Hollywood blockbusters – that took place in film industries all around the world from India through to the Philippines. Yet it is a phenomenon that particularly flourished in Turkey in the 1970s and 1980s with Yeşilçam-era remakes of everything from Star Wars and E.T. through to Death Wish and Some Like it Hot. These films have often been dismissed as derivative and unworthy of serious study but scholars are now recognising the value they have for investigating processes of cultural globalisation. Moreover, many of these films have recently been digitally restored and subtitled in English so that audiences within Turkey and around the world can fully appreciate this fascinating period within Turkish film history.

Yunus Emre Institute in London is delighted to host another interesting talk as part of the Arts & Culture Lecture series with Iain Robert Smith to explore “Turkish Remakesploitation: Yeşilçam-era remakes of Hollywood cinema” on Wednesday 4th of November 2020 at 18:00 (GMT).  The talk will be moderated by Nezih Erdoğan , an academic in the field of cinema focusing on Turkish film history and historiography.

Dr Iain Robert Smith is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. He is author of The Hollywood Meme: Transnational Adaptations in World Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and co-editor of the collections Transnational Film Remakes (with Constantine Verevis, Edinburgh University Press, 2017) and Media Across Borders (with Andrea Esser and Miguel Bernal-Merino, Routledge, 2016).

Prof. Dr Nezih Erdoğan has published articles and book chapters on colonial discourse, national identity, and sound and body in Turkish popular cinema, the reception of Hollywood in Turkey, censorship and the distribution-exhibition of American films in Turkey. His chapter “Violent images: hybridity and excess in The Man who Saved the World”  appeared in Mapping the Margins: Identity, Politics and the Media (2002). He co-edited Shifting Landscapes: Film and Media in European Context (with Miyase Christensen, 2008). In recent years, he has published and given talks at national and international conferences on the problems of Turkish film history and historiography, and on the spectatorial experiences of the Istanbulites in the late 1890s and early 1900s. His book, Sinemanın İstanbul’da İlk Yılları: Modernlik ve Seyir Maceraları/Early Years of Cinema in Istanbul: Adventures in Modernity and Spectatorship was published in 2017.

This talk forms part of the Arts&Culture Lecture Series organised by Yunus Emre Institute in London.