Archive of films The Road / Yol

Turkey / Switzerland
1982, 114 min

Section: Ten Best Turkish Films
Year: 2004

The film tells the story of five prisoners who are granted special permission to spend Muslim religious holidays with their loved ones. The Road is a disturbing work which, in harmony with Godard’s well-known definition, isn’t a straightforward matter of ‘making a political film, but rather of making a film politically.’ The film took the Palme d’Or at Cannes.


Sharing the Palme d’Or at the 35th Cannes Film Festival with Costa Gavras’ Missing, Şerif Gören’s The Road represents Turkish cinema’s greatest success on the international festival circuit. It is a masterpiece, shocking and disturbing. There is no doubt that Yılmaz Güney, as screenwriter, was central to the process of The Road becoming renowned and finding its niche in the world film history books. The events that the Gören-Güney duo experienced, and the difficulties of shooting the film in the post-12 September 1980 coup d’état, would provide great subject matter for books and documentaries. The Road depicts the story of five friends, convicts in the Imralı Prison, and their experiences during their week-long leave to spend a religious holiday with their families, granted via special permission for good conduct. Seyyit Ali, learning of his wife’s infidelity, has to stain his hands with blood for the sake of traditions … Mehmet Ali is rejected by his beloved wife’s family as he is thought to have left his brother-in-law to die during a robbery... Yusuf is sent back to prison because he loses his leave permit… Mevlüt, who dreams of spending his leave with his fiancée, is thwarted by her pestering family… Ömer falls for one of the village girls, Gülbahar, and is now at a loss what to do…  Şerif Gören has transformed a story that would well suit a western or comedy into an immensely moving Turkish-Anatolian epic. The Road is not, in Godard’s definition, a ‘political film; “it’s a politically made film”. The fact that Şerif Gören calmly places postcards of a military coup leader and a famous transsexual singer side by side in a single frame, a stark symbol of the 12th of September, proves this.

About the director

Şerif Gören (b. 1944, Ksanthi, Řecko) started his film career as an editor, and continued as an assistant director. He directed his first film Anxiety (Endise) in 1974 and then directed more than thirty films in a decade. His greatest contribution to Turkish cinema has been Yol which shared Palme d’Or at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival with Missing by Costa Gavras. There is no doubt that Yılmaz Güney, as screenwriter, was central to the process of The Road becoming renowned and finding its niche in the world film history books. Both incorporated into the film many of the painful events which they experienced themselves. The Road is a film about captivity, wandering and fate, a depiction of cruelty and emotion which touches the heart.


Festival on Wheels - Ankara Cinema Association
Abay Kunanbay Cad 33/6, 06700, Ankara
Tel: +90 312 466 3484
Fax: +90 312 466 4331
E-mail: [email protected]

Güney Filmcilik A.S.
Sakizagaci Cad. Güney Han No 2/1 Beyoglu, , Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 252 2544
Fax: +90 212 245 1304

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Ten Best Turkish Films
Director: Şerif Gören
Screenplay: Yılmaz Güney
Dir. of Photography: Erdoğan Engin
Music: Sebastian Argol, Kendal
Editor: Yılmaz Güney, Elisabeth Waelchli
Producer: Yılmaz Güney
Production: Cactus Film, Güney Filmcilik A.S.
Cast: Tarık Akan, Şerif Sezer, Halil Ergün, Necmettin Çobanoğlu, Hikmet Çelik, Tuncay Akça
Contact: Festival on Wheels - Ankara Cinema Association, Güney Filmcilik A.S.


Ahmet Boyacioglu

Festival Organizer, Producer, Film Director


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