By Umut ARAL


Drama - Pre-Production 2010

Rhapsody in Pera is set in the most eclectic neighborhood of Istanbul, Pera. It’s about three close friends whose friendship runs so deep that when one of them decides to pursue a new dark venture the others follow without question, only to find themselves investigating a series of murders. Until, t

    • Year of production
    • 2010
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • TURKEY
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Umut ARAL
    • Writer(s)
    • Umut ARAL
    • Producer(s)
    • Omer ATAY (Atlantik Film)
    • Synopsis
    • Most ordinary lives are those that harbour biggest secrets...
      Some cities are female; they bear female characteristics by their streets, buildings, rivers, sea, sun, trees, clouds, and winds. Paris, St. Petersburg and San Francisco are such cities, and without any doubt, İstanbul is among them. And the most flirtatious, most frolicsome, most feminine place of İstanbul is naturally Pera (Beyoglu). “Rhapsody of Pera” depicts the world’s most jovial, most sad, most merciless, most merciful, most colorful, most dark, richest, and poorest place, this strangest district of the earth that pulses like a heart for 24 hours a day.
      “Rhapsody of Pera” is a story about immortality, on the immortality of both human and humanity. The human’s pursuit of immortality is symbolized by the passion of photography of Kenan, the protagonist; and the multi-voiced, multi-colored, multi-layered cultural life in Pera symbolizes the immortality of humanity.
      “Rhapsody of Pera” also depicts friendship and the human nature, self-sacrifice and egotism. It is the story of the self-sacrifice evolved to exaltation, of egotism evolved to murder. The three protagonists of the story, Kenan, Selim and Nihat are friends from high school. They are so close friends that whenever one of them is in need, the others help him, whenever one is hurt, the others are there to support him. Kenan is the most handsome, most extrovert, most boisterous one. He is really fond of photography. From his childhood on, he has tried to improve himself in photography, because the best way to immortality is through being a good artist. Kenan takes pictures of people from all walks of life, he travels for this purpose, opens many exhibitions, but as it is typical with the Turkish art scene, nobody appreciates his art. But his best friends Nihat and Selim are there to support him. Nihat, whose financial situation is worse than the others, hoping to gain some money as well, proposes to Kenan to use crime scene photos. He says that if he opens an exhibition about them, everybody will appreciate what he does. Selim who has a great dress store called AZYA in Pera opposes obstinately this proposition, but he cannot stop Kenan and Nihat.
      The shooting process starts by the reenactment of the real crime scene photos taken from the Pera Police. When everything goes smoothly, Kenan is struck by a similarity between two photos. When Kenan asks to a police detective about these two events, he replies that they are two different crimes. But Kenan does not believe in this, and thinking that both crimes are committed by the same person, he begins to investigate the case by himself, because he believes that if he solves these crimes, his future exhibition will be all the more sensational. Though Selim, who is stuck between his family and his friends, most wisely warns him, he does not give up on this dangerous investigation. This complicated process takes us to Pera’s narrow streets and dark corners, to the obscured memories of the history, and to thousands of White Russian people who immigrated to İstanbul in 1920. As the investigation evolves, the story gets entangled in shadows, and friends are under suspicion. This process unexpectedly sheds light on secrets of many years. And the story ends with a terrifying twist.
      The secret protagonist of “Rhapsody of Pera” is the district of Pera. Pera is not only an environment in the story, but also a district that creates a mystery to be solved. Pera is just like a god who constructs this story and creates three protagonists. The story begins by her, and ends by her. Almost all languages of the world are spoken here: Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Flemish, Yiddish, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Russian, Slovakian, English, German, French, Italian, Hungarian... It is just like the Tower of Babel where in every store lives a different people. By her churches, mosques, synagogues, buildings, baths, banks, malls, bookstores, pubs, beer houses, wine houses, coffee shops, cultural centers, brothels, movie theaters, art galleries, theaters, by her obstinate buildings of so many centuries old that try to survive though their life period is expired, by her narrow streets, dead ends - Grande Rue Pera, Cadde-i Kebir, İstiklal Street or Beyoğlu, whatever you call her, this place has a role in the story as lively film sets, as the world’s biggest ever changing stage.
      As for the music of Pera, that is, her rhapsody, it is in fact a mixture of all the voices in this district: a mixture of folk songs, pop songs, jazz, rock, classical music, rap, hiphop, metal music, arabesque music, prayer calls, church bells, screams of whores, sirens of police cars, shouts of merchants, passionate murmurs, yells of drunkards, furious grumbles, silent talks of betrayal, unreserved laughters, painful shrieks, silence, shouts full of faith, and the sound of hopelessness and of fury...
    • Partners & financing
    • Kaboal Pictures (Bulgaria)
      Turkish Ministry of Culture
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Oct 01, 2010