I spent six years of my childhood at a boarding primary school. And the reason I wanted to make this film has a lot to do with the fears that remain with me from those boarding school days. Fear is as old as humanity itself; and schools are one of the places that most effectively perpetuate the tradition of spreading fear and using it as a disciplinary tool. At boarding schools in particular, these fears tend to be many layered.
Of course, not all the teachers I encountered were bad; they, too, were continuing a tradition learned earlier in life: inspiring fear! Strike fear into the hearts of children to make them grow up. Don’t let them object to anything... The control exercised over our young bodies was later applied to our minds. Today I realise that to control children is essentially to control the future.
Like students, our teachers were also scared and looking for ways to fight off their fears. I will never forget: a female teacher new to our class attempted to disguise her weak and vulnerable personality by picking out and beating the most innocent boy among us. She then announced, “Don’t be fooled by my fragile appearance. I can be as tough as nails when called for.” I now see that she didn’t do it out of pure malice. Her fear came both from being female and from being alone somewhere unfamiliar. Children who are beaten grow up and beat other children. They, too, get a kick out of it. Just like us... And there you have the ancient tradition!
Of course, we weren’t exactly saints ourselves. “You’re worse than the teachers” was a regular refrain for most students. We were infused with cruelty before even having the chance to learn what compassion was. It is hard to describe the violence we perpetrated against one another. The only thing we knew was that if you wanted to count for something, you needed to bully people as much as you could.
According to Jacques Lacan, the family plays a pivotal role in the transmission of culture and in its formation at an individual level. It is the family that creates what we know as ‘humanity’ and brings the social and cultural order into being. Children become part of this order through the family. But taking away a child’s family ties and attempting to substitute them with other artificial bonds will damage the social order first and foremost.
Through Yusuf’s story, the film sets out to examine the prevalence of lies in oppressed societies and the ramifications of even a single trivial lie. It also seeks to question the innocence of an entire society.
In other words, BROTHER’S KEEPER is the film of a long tradition; it is a film of fear.
He made ESKI KÖYE YENI ADET for FOX TV as a tv movie but FOX decided to release the film in the cinemas where it played for more than a month in 340 cinema around Turkey.
2021 - BROTHER'S KEEPER
2013 - THE FALL FROM HEAVEN
2011 - YUSIV’S DREAM, short
2010 - BEFORE THE FLOOD, short
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Ferit Karahan
Written by: Ferit Karahan, Gulistan Acet
Produced by: Kanat Dogramaci, Alexander Craciun
Cinematography: Türksoy Gölebeyi
Editing: Sercan Sezgin, Hayedeh Safiyari, Ferit Karahan
Production Design: Tolunay Türköz
Costume Design: Fevziye Asli Kömür
Sound: Srdjan Kurpjel
Main Cast: Samet Yildiz (Yusuf), Ekin Koç (Teacher Selim), Mahir Ipek (Headmaster Müdür), Nurullah Alaca (Memo)
Nominations and Awards
- Feature Film Selection 2021