Now competing in Venice, newcomer Kaan Mujdeci’s ‘Sivas’ tells the friendship of an 11-year-old boy and an Anatolian sheepdog.
Young director Kaan Mujdeci’s much-hyped debut feature “Sivas” is set to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 3, competing both for the Golden Lion and the Lion of the Future award given to best first film. Its stars are an unlikely pair for a newcomer: An 11-year-old boy and a dog. Set in the steppes of Central Anatolia, the film is a coming-of-age story in which the boy, named Aslan, rescues a wounded Anatolian shepherd in a ditch, after which he forges a friendship with his dog.
Initially, Aslan makes use of the dog’s fighting skills for popularity and attention, especially from the little belle of the village. However, interest is not limited to the object of Aslan’s affection, and the tale of the dog reaches the village head. Aslan’s journey into adulthood has been described by Mujdeci as being “about the continuously evolving life and character of a small boy and a small village.”
In another new release, “Azazil: Dugum,” a dog shapes the story – if not becoming one of its leading actors. Director Ozgur Bakar’s film is the latest in a genre that has become increasingly popular over the last two decades: The Islamic horror, in which ghosts and zombies become genies, exorcisms are performed by hodjas, and the apocalypse takes its form from the Quran. The paranormal storyline of Bakar’s latest kicks off after the leading couple accidentally hit a dog with their car and kill him.