Istanbul has a long cinematic history; it has been a colorful setting for Turkish and foreign movies. Love, loss, comedy, and adventure; the many sides of the city have been reflected in a rich cinematic tradition.
Anlat Istanbul (2005) is a drama which tells five interconnected stories set in modern-day Istanbul based on popular fairy tales.
Capturing a rare moment of Istanbul covered by snow, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Uzak (2002) uses the backdrop to explore themes of difficult relationships and alienation.
Based on a novel by Eric Ambler, Topkapı (1964) is the story of a grand theft of an emerald-encrusted dagger from the Ottoman palace’s treasury. Starring international stars Melina Mercouri and Peter Ustinov, the film showcases Istanbul’s historic peninsula, as well as various locations along the Bosphorus.
After losing her father and taking over his taxi business, Şoför Nebahat (1960) finds herself in the middle of a dramatic plot that takes her to various locations around the city. A nostalgic detail: Taksim Square as a transportation hub in the late 1950s.
Oddly resonant in the modern age of social media, Sevmek Zamanı (1965) tells a story of a man who falls in love with the portrait of a woman. The movie takes you on a journey to his atelier on the Princes’ Islands.
Filmed mostly in easily recognizable parts of Beyoğlu, Uzak İhtimal (2009) is the story of a muezzin from a neighborhood mosque falling in love with a catholic nurse.
The dramatic story of a dying woman (played by Hülya Koçyiğit) who explores Istanbul in search of meaning, and finds love against the doctor’s orders, Kadın İsterse (1965) proves that lucky coincidences are possible, even in Istanbul.