We often find ourselves in freely chosen media environments and thus also in situations of excessive demands. The complex media environments, the result of increasing technologization and the resulting incessant overflow of offers of knowledge and (in)meaning, have been presenting us with enormous challenges not only since today. Mechanisms and offers of simplification thus become productive and attractive.

Many forms of political action refer to patterns of complication in the modern world in order to make those mechanisms of simplification particularly seductive.

We assume that the concept of “Occidentalism” can currently be used to describe a particularly large number of simplification procedures that are characterized by the fact that they address encompassing world relations in the sense of symbolic geographies. How do these procedures of simplification realize themselves in medial spheres? This is the central question that moves us. We pursue it by analyzing the cinematic work of a director who understood his films as part of a comprehensive religious and political program: we are talking about Yücel Çakmaklı, the founder of an Islamic-Turkist cinema, which he called the Millî Sinema (“National Cinema”) in a manifesto published in 1964 in the Islamic magazine Tohum.

Yücel Cakmakli - tsa.org.tr/en

Yücel Çakmaklı (*1943-2009), Quelle: tsa.org.tr/en

The dichotomization of the self and the West is the focus of the examination of cinematic procedures in the oeuvre of the director, who died in 2009 and is revered by conservative circles to this day. His films continue to lay the foundations for audiovisual productions such as the ideologically controversial but internationally successful historical series from Turkey “Resurrection: Ertuğrul” (2014-2020) or “Establishment: Osman” (2019-present).

The map of Piri Rice, source*

At the end of the project, we want to have determined categories that recur in the director’s oeuvre and are helpful for determining the mechanisms of simplification. The fact that the investigation of the director’s cinematic oeuvre simultaneously makes an important contribution to transcultural and transdisciplinary research in terms of film culture history is a side effect of the entire research project, which is the first research project in Germany on decidedly Turkish film and its history to be funded by a scientific institution.

* Piri Reis – Library of Topkapi Palace Museum, No. H 1824 Bilkent University, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=345064