Archive of films My Only Sunshine / Hayat var

Turkey / Greece / Bulgaria
2008, 121 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2009

A poetic, visually compelling film about the adolescent life of a 14-year-old Turkish girl who turns her back on a world which has little love to give her, in order to be with her dreams and, ultimately, with the only person who cares about her without wanting anything in return.


Fourteen-year-old Hayat lives with her father and grandfather in a little wooden shack not far from the unsettled, breathtaking, yet also dangerous waters of the Bosphorus Strait, within sight of Istanbul. Hayat’s mother abandoned her years ago and now has another family, so the girl clings more to her father, who makes a living as a fisherman while also doing shady deals with the crews of large cargo ships. Hayat looks after the home and her grandfather, a disagreeable, short-tempered old man suffering from a serious lung disorder and a dependence on cigarettes. Hayat, plagued by the emotional indifference of her family, bullying from her classmates and the impatient, greedy hands of the local grocer, withdraws increasingly into the silent world of her imagination, fired by dreams of life beyond the water. Then, one day, her father is arrested, and Hayat makes the most important decision of her life… This poetic, visually exquisite film about a girl whose name means "life”, is the story of a vital force which, one way or another, will always move relentlessly forward – just like the waters of the Bosphorus. The film received a Special Prize from the Film Critics Association at the festival in Antalya, and Best Film from the Tagesspiegel Reader’s Jury at the 59th Berlinale.

About the director

Reha Erdem (b. 1960, Istanbul) studied history at Bosphorus University in Istanbul and then left in 1983 to study in France at the Paris 8 University, where he took courses in film and the fine arts. His first feature film Oh Moon (1989) was screened to acclaim at the festival in Nantes. His next feature-length film A Run for Money (1999) represented Turkey at the Oscars and, for his third film, the comedy Mommy, I’m Scared (2004), he took away four awards from the Antalya film festival, including Best Screenplay (Erdem wrote the script, as he did for his other films). The film Times and Winds (2006), a mosaic depicting daily life in a poor village, won Best Film in Istanbul. Erdem also made the short film Song of the Sea (1995), inspired by the work of Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatli, the experimental short Anytime in October (2006), and more than a hundred TV commercials.


Atlantik Film
Üst Zeren sokak No:2, 1. Levent, 343 30, Istanbul
Tel: + 90 212 278 361 1
Fax: + 90 212 278 197 1

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Reha Erdem
Screenplay: Reha Erdem
Dir. of Photography: Florent Herry
Editor: Reha Erdem
Producer: Ömer Atay
Production: Atlantik Film
Cast: Elit İşcan, Erdal Beşikçioğlu, Levend Yılmaz, Banu Fotocan, Handan Karaadam, Nebil Sayın, Erhan Tekin
Contact: Atlantik Film

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