France, Turkey, Germany


In a village in the south east of Turkey, Mahmut wants to divorce his newly-wed wife. At the same time, his sister Zeynep enrols in an open high school and takes on a job in a factory. Against her father’s wishes, she wants to leave the village and ultimately go to university. The siblings’ demands become the center of conflict in their conservative family and community, who are not used to what Mahmut and Zeynep strive for. Intimately captured by their elder brother Ahmet Necdet Cupur, who left the village twenty years ago to pursue his studies, LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES is a story of clashes between generations, between the past and the present.

Director's Statement

Everything began when my brother Mahmut took a decision to divorce his newly wed wife and my sister Zeynep was ready to end her engagement in 2017. I took my camera and went back to the village.

My intention was to film my siblings and the people around them while seeking a solution. I thought things would be easier by looking through the lens of a camera as if what I film was not the real life but a filmmaker’s fantasy world.

After a trial period realizing the outcomes of documenting these events, I followed my siblings’ on-going story for over three years until 2020. I stayed behind the camera and rarely interacted with them though my presence as the eldest son of this family was felt. I travelled back to the village alone with little image and sound equipment to capture the true intimacy. In a way, I was in a privileged position to film my siblings, parents and kinsmen for they have let me dwell into their lives. I even felt like they have been waiting for someone to listen to them. I wasn’t expecting them to be that open to be filmed at any moment. For them, I was a person who was listening with a camera and I didn’t want to break this coherence. To give the camera a subjective perspective, I placed it as if it was my eyes. I tried to create a fluid structure of telling in the film wishing to follow a logic of revealing information, that is, beginning with the effects on the individuals and zooming out towards the causes, the origins.

I tried hard not to cast any moral judgment on the events; instead I wanted to let the events reveal their own meanings. Principally, I took my siblings, Mahmut and Zeynep’s point of views on their lives, how they seek a solution while still keeping the family ties intact. I looked for images to create meanings of the interior conflicts. I tried to have more than just faces and expressions. I wanted to capture these “new individuals” feelings, their helplessness while trying to create their own mode of life.

Director's Biography

Ahmet Necdet Çupur was born in 1984 in Hatay, a village situated by the Syrian border in Turkey. He quit his home at the age of thirteen moving to Antakya to pursue schooling. He obtained a civil engineering diploma and worked three years in Iraq and Afghanistan during the war. In one of his journeys, he shot a short film in Romania and decided to be a filmmaker. He left his engineering job and moved to Paris.

Two years after his arrival, he obtained funds from CNC and a pre-purchase from France 2 TV channel for his short film, LATIN BABYLON. The year he completed his film, he returned back to his natal village, after twenty years of absence, with an idea of shooting a documentary about his family. He managed to get national funds from France (le CNC, la Scam) to write this documentary film. He carries on living and developing his projects in Paris.

LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES is his first feature-length documentary.

2021 - LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES, documentary
2017 - LATIN BABYLON, short
2015 - THE BOY AND THE BIKE, short
2014 - EXPERIENCE, short
2014 - ALLEY DANCER, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ahmet Necdet Cupur

Written by: Ahmet Necdet Cupur

Produced by: Delphine Morel, Nadir Öperli, Anke Petersen

Cinematography: Ahmet Necdet Cupur, Lucie Baudinaud

Editing: Mathilde Van de Moortel

Original Score: Paradox Paradise

Sound: Ahmet Necdet Cupur, Gürkan Özkaya, Johannes Grehl

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2021