LL: I so loved your Ramadan post. We were not in Turkey for Ramadan during our recent trip, but we have great memories of past Ramadans in Turkey. I loved to lie in my comfortable bed and listen to the drum as it started way over on the far side of town and slowly made it's way to the front of our apartment.
I don't want to start any political discussion here, but it was Ramadan where I first developed my appreciation for the Islam faith. This is a religion that makes difficult demands on its members....the daily washing and prayers....the month of fasting......the rejection of alcohol. Those of us who practice a western religion may go to church on Sunday, and if we are very faithful show up for prayer service on Wednesday. I have always wondered, since first living in Turkey if we would have the devotion to sacrifice so much if our religious faiths demanded it.
On to your production....I have been thinking of little "pictures" that I have that were meaningful to me. I remember a Dad with a little boy no more than four. They were in the mosque, and the Dad was helping his tiny boy wash and then pray. I remember the sight of the little babies all bundled up like eskimo children against the chill winds of March. I liked the image of a father and mother in a restaurant playing with a baby about 9 months old. There seems to be a true love of family among the Turkish people. I am not sure how you capture that on film, but I am confident that you will.
Another concept that I do not think anyone in the west appreciates is the nature of a secular government in a Moslem nation. I think Attaturk was a man of profound vision. He accomplished for Turkish citizens what no other nation has been able to do. It is so unique among Islam cultures to find people that value both their religion and their secular government. Think how different our world would be today if all the nations in the middle east had successfully created secular democratic governments.
I also wonder if there is a way you can capture the generosity of spirit that all Turkish people seem to have.....the perpetual invitation of tea and coffee, the extra banana when you buy produce, the little silver bracelet "just for madam" thrown in with the purchase of something more expensive. We never went to visit Orhan and Teslim without leaving with a package of tea thrust into our hands as we were leaving. Our hotel was so amazingly generous. They hosted two amazing dinners for us. I know they were expensive, but we were not even allowed to leave the tip.
And then there is the cultural elegance of the people themselves. As an older woman you understand what I mean when I talk about the discrimination I feel based on my age. In Turkey I felt respected because of my age, rather than discriminated against because I was older. I liked it when men would find a chair for me, regardless of where we were and insist that "mother" sit. We loved the physical demonstrations. Turkish men are so comfortable with themselves, that they have no problem hugging and kissing one another when they greet each other. I think that is neat! I fought for women's rights during my entire working life, and I always opened the door for myself. Turkish men have a different way of demonstrating manners. They seem to cherish us in a way that makes me feel warm and secure rather than patronized.
I know that younger female tourists in Turkey have had some unfortunate experience with men while traveling, but as "mother" I have never been treated so nicely.
I am just in free thought here, but I did read an article yesterday about the outstanding medical facilities that are available in Istanbul. I know that surprised me when I discovered them after arriving, and I am sure it is something that is not commonly known.
Oh my, just thinking about these things makes me want to hop on the next plane. If it were not high season and the lines at Topkapi were not hours long I think I would go tomorrow. Since we do not have to go in the summer, we will return when the crowds leave and the weather is a little less warm.
I do not know how you will capture the exotic feeling of strolling down the streets of Sultanahmet with all the tables set out on the sidewalk, candles burning, smells of wonderful food in the air.... handsome and elegantly dressed young men inviting you in to sample their menus.
Istanbul is magic in a way that no other city I have ever visited can be. I spent ten days in New Orleans recently, a place I have always also thought where there was some magic. The French Quarter was not damaged by the hurricane or flood so there were no destroyed buildings. Almost everything was the same as it had been pre-Katrina, but I had a difficult time finding the magic.
Your film will be wonderful, and I know that you will create some way to communicate the unique qualities of Turkish peope with visual images.