ZENNE DANCER

By M. Caner ALPER, Mehmet BINAY

CAM FILM LTD - as PROD

LGBT - Completed 2011


    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • LGBT, First film, Drama
    • Countries
    • TURKEY
    • Languages
    • TURKISH, ENGLISH, GERMAN
    • Duration
    • 104 mn
    • Director(s)
    • M. Caner ALPER, Mehmet BINAY
    • Synopsis
    • ZENNE is inspired by the true characters and stories of Zenne Can and Ahmet Yildiz, who was murdered by his father July 18, 2008 in Istanbul. ZENNE is the contemporary story of three unlikely friends: AHMET, a hyper-masculine gay (bear); CAN, a male belly dancer (Zenne); and DANIEL, a German photo-journalist, who are confronted by a systemic, institutionalized and culturally embedded homophobia that leads to the tragic death of Ahmet at the hands of his own father. Through this dynamic friendship and the events that unfold around them, the film explores layers of intolerance along masculine/feminine, east/west and traditional/modern lines in Istanbul, a city that is itself geographically, culturally and historically at the very crossroads of those divides. One day they meet Daniel, a German photojournalist newly arrived in Istanbul and working on a coffee table book about the city. The three of them forge a friendship and Daniel and Ahmet grow even closer, as a relationship begins to blossom between them. But Daniel grows wary of Ahmet as he seems to be hiding something and also meeting with someone on the side. When confronted, Ahmet reveals that his hyper conservative family, suspicious and fearful of Ahmet`s sexual orientation, has hired a man to spy on him and who is now blackmailing Ahmet to keep the truth from his family. As he grasps the danger Ahmet is in, Daniel tries to persuade him to escape to Germany with him. However Ahmet can not get a passport without completing his military service first. Can is in a similar predicament regarding his military service obligations. They both fear discrimination, harassment and violence if they join, and Can even more acutely because he is an effeminate gay. Yet, there should be a way out. Ahmet and Can decide to apply for a “medical”, an archaic Turkish process required to “prove” one’s homosexuality in order to be granted a release from military service. Despite all previous objections and a scarring childhood incident that explains his ‘bearish’ ways, Ahmet decides to dress ‘gay’, become a `Zenne`- Male dancer. While this is unfolding, Ahmet’s parents become increasingly certain that he is gay and planning to try to get out of the military. Their spy, Zindan intercepts Ahmet’s incriminating photos with Daniel. However, it is a newly empowered Ahmet who finally comes out to his family. Soon thereafter his mother KEZBAN, shames his father into YILMAZ into action, calling on him to defend the honour of the family. Ahmet and Daniel prepare to leave Istanbul for Germany. On their last night, Ahmet runs out to buy ice cream and is confronted and brutally murdered in the street by his father. Family and friends are all shattered in the aftermath, and Ahmet’s father kills himself in shame at his own actions. A broken Daniel leaves Istanbul and Can, equally distraught, is allowed a glimmer of hope for the future when he is hired as a tutor at a dance studio.
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