Archive of films The Herd / Sürü

1978, 125 min

Section: Ten Best Turkish Films
Year: 2004

There’s a blood feud raging between two Kurdish clans. Sivan, whose wife is a member of an enemy family, no longer enjoys his strict father’s favour. Indeed, he must defend his wife against his father, who considers her a curse. This is a film about tragic love, ancient family ties, and an existential journey from mountain pastures to the metropolis. 


Written by Yılmaz Güney and directed by Zeki Ökten, The Herd is the story of a nomadic Anatolian family on the verge of collapse. The film’s story describes a blood feud between two families. Şivan, who is married to Berivan, the daughter of the rival family, is no longer favoured by his father, Hamo Agha. Berivan, who lost all three of her babies, is mute, having lost her ability to speak in consequence of these traumas. But even though his wife is hated by his father soince he believes she has brought misfortune to the family, Şivan will not let her go. Divided into three parts – the family relations, a train journey and events in Ankara as the finale, The Herd has achieved the level of an epic, successfully representing Turkish cinema at international festivals. The story starts in the wilderness of South-Eastern Turkey, it develops as the family travels in the train, one of the most fascinating “road movie” sequences in cinema history, and intensifies as the family arrives in Ankara. The turning point in the story occurs when Şivan takes his wife and leaves the family. Ökten takes a cynical look at ordinary life in a country in turmoil after political assassinations and rapid social change have introduced new values. Both Hamo Agha’s and Şivan’s hopes are buried in Ankara. From the first frame onwards, the Güney-Ökten team show just how destructive human beings can be. Graced by the performances of Tuncel Kurtiz, Tarık Akan and Melike Demirağ and the entire cast, the film’s success was also guaranteed by İzzet Akay’s cinematography and Zülfü Livaneli’s music It took Best Film and Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival.   

About the director

Zeki Ökten (b. 1941, Istanbul) began in 1959 as an assistant director, working with Lütfi Akad, Halit Refiğ and Atıf Yılmaz. He debuted as a director with Woman Does It (Kadin Yapar, 1972). He made films of every kind and also wrote their scripts. His film The Herd (Sürü), written by the celebrated Yılmaz Güney, won eleven awards at international film festivals. The performances of Tuncel Kurtiz, Tarık Akan and Melike Demirağ, along with the camerawork and music, helped the film to hold its own in competition, winning Best Film at Locarno. After Wacky World (Düttürü dütya, 1988), he remained silent for eleven years. Ökten returned to film with Raindrop (Güle, güle) in 1999. His latest film is My Rose (Gülüm) from 2003.


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

National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

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

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Ten Best Turkish Films
Director: Zeki Ökten
Screenplay: Yılmaz Güney
Dir. of Photography: İzzet Akay
Music: Ömer Zülfü Livaneli
Editor: Özdemir Arıtan
Producer: Yılmaz Güney
Production: Güney Filmcilik A.S.
Cast: Tarık Akan, Melike Demirağ, Tuncel Kurtiz, Meral Niron, Yaman Okay
Contact: Güney Filmcilik A.S., National Film Archive, Festival on Wheels - Ankara Cinema Association


Ahmet Boyacioglu

Festival Organizer, Producer, Film Director

Milan Líčka

Film Institution Rep.

Tuncel Kurtiz


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