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Opening Film Announced: “Decision To Leave”

Organised by the Eye Society - For All Watching Occasions for the first time this year, Ayvalık International Film Festival’s opening film will be “Decision to Leave”, which was awarded Best Director at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Park Chan-wook’s sensational film will be screened on the evening of 16 September at Ayvalık Büyük Park Amphitheatre following the opening ceremony. Directed by Azize Tan, the Ayvalık International Film Festival will be screening this year’s award-winning, acclaimed domestic and foreign productions between 16 and 21 September 2022.

Recently founded in Ayvalık, the Eye Society - For All Watching Occasions has started preparations for the Ayvalık International Film Festival soon after a successful warm-up with the Ayvalık Open Air Film Nights. Dedicated to making Ayvalık an artistic centre with a special focus on cinema, the Eye Society - For All Watching Occasions aims to organise arts and culture events throughout the year and take such events outside of Ayvalık. With this objective in mind, a special selection from the festival program will be shown in Diyarbakır between September 24 and 25, days after the actual festival in Ayvalık.

The festival is committed to establishing ties with host cities and has preferred to exclude any competition in its format. But that doesn’t mean the program isn’t full – there will be a selection of films, interviews, panels on current issues, children’s workshops, and film screenings. Organised in collaboration with students from different universities in Turkey, the Young Cinema program will give young filmmakers the opportunity to meet with film industry professionals.


With Azize Tan at the helm and Fatih Özgüven as programming consultant, the Ayvalık International Film Festival will open with hailed South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s eagerly awaited latest film “Decision to Leave”. The critically acclaimed film, which won Best Director at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, is about a detective who falls in love with the woman who is the prime suspect in a murder case and struggles to remain impartial.

The festival selection includes the celebrated productions of the year that premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. There is “Broker” by Hirokazu Kore-Eda, a name familiar from previous releases like Shoplifters, Like Father Like Son, and After Life. “Broker” is about failing parents unanimously leaving their babies in what is called a “Baby Box” – a repository for abandoned infants. Winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the film also brought the Best Actor Award to Song Kang-Ho, the star of the Oscar-winning Parasite.

Other titles to be screened at Ayvalık are, “One Fine Morning”, a drama on a young single mother looking for a suitable nursing home for her sick father by Mia Hansen-Løve, who competed in the Directors’ Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival and released Bergman Island last year; and Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner, “EO” by 84-year-old director Jerzy Skolimowski who tells donkey Baltazar’s story that starts in a Polish circus and ends in an Italian slaughterhouse.

Another film is Cannes Jury prize winner Claire Denis’ “The Stars at Noon”, adapted from Denis Johnson’s novel of the same name. The film is about the romantic relationship between a mysterious businessman and a persistent journalist that flourishes in a dangerous series of events in Nicaragua in 1984.

Viewers will also be able to see Cannes 75th Anniversary Prize winner Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne’s “Tori and Lokita” which focuses on the harrowing ordeal of two children named Tori and Lokita who flee their country in Africa and have to prove they are siblings to be granted asylum in Europe even though they are not.

There will also be the first feature-length film screenings from directors whose names you are sure to hear more often in the near future: Charlotte Wells’ emotional film “Aftersun“, which was shot in Muğla and screened during the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week, is a woman’s recount of a holiday she took with her father in Turkey as a child. Manuela Martelli’s “1976” focuses on a woman who finds herself in an unexpected struggle during Pinochet era Chile. Hailed by Screen Magazine as one of the rising stars of 2021, Thomas Hardiman’s “Medusa Deluxe” is about the string of events following a murder that took place during the hairdresser of the year competition which has attracted eccentric characters. Screened at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival, Erige Sehiri’s “Under the Fig Trees” investigates the lives of a group of Tunisian fig harvesters.

Other titles to be screened at the Ayvalık International Film Festival will be announced in the coming days. Tickets for the screenings which will take place at the Vural Cinema and Ayvalık Büyük Park Amphitheatre will go on sale on Biletix on 9 September.


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