Director, screenwriter & producer, Germany & Turkey


“The Cut is [also] about my personal journey through cinema, and the directors who I admire and who influence my work. Elia Kazan’s America America is a very important influence. So is the work of Sergio Leone, how he used framing. It’s also an homage somehow to Scorsese. I wrote this film with Mardik Martin, Martin Scorsese’s very early scriptwriter who wrote Mean Streets and the first draft of Raging Bull. […] We spoke a lot about obsessional characters in Scorsese films. […] The film deals also a lot with my admiration for Bertolucci, and Italian westerns and how Eastwood adapted Italian westerns. And the way we try to catch the light, always having it behind us, is very inspired by the work of Terrence Malick.”


Filmmaking is entertaining, and should stay entertaining. […] When I was a kid, 10, 11, or 12 years old, I was how boys are or should be—I was into war. You had to become a soldier. […] But not so long later, when I was 14 or 15, I discovered films like Platoon, or Mississippi Burning by Alan Parker. I was 16, and I remember watching Mississippi Burning, and the next thing I did after I left the cinema was become a member of Amnesty International. Film has an impact.


With films, you don’t have to be a preacher. I want to entertain, I want people to see the stuff and to be entertained with it, but you can smuggle stuff in there with it. There’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the John Ford film… […] This is a political message in a Hollywood western. Look to Iran or China: filmmakers in China get arrested just because they do films. That means people see your films. Hollywood used that. […]”


“There’s a very bad thing happening all over Europe; more and more arthouse movie theaters are closing. There is still an audience, but less. DVD, Internet, and maybe less education gives them less impact. […] Certain arthouse cinemas are like churches to me, they are very, very spiritual; watching a film can be a spiritual experience. The multiplexes also play the arthouse films, but these films cannot compete. Certain films need time to get discovered. They need to breathe. They need people to speak about them on the streets. […] When arthouse films are playing in multiplexes, after one weekend, if they’re not a hit, they’re out. This is such a tragic thing. But this is democracy, this is the market, this is capitalism.”


Cinema is a collective experience. Many people sit together, there’s a lot of seats, and you want those seats to be filling up. I’m not that egoistic, to say ‘No, I only want to do a film for me, I don’t care.’ That’s not true. For sure I do them for me, but I hope I can share it with as many people as possible. I can’t hide or fool you, anyway—everything is there.”

(A.V. Club, August 20, 2010 & The New York Times, August 26, 2014)

Selected Filmography

Director & screenwriter

1995    SENSIN, YOU’RE THE ONE! (Sensin, du bist es !) – court métrage/short

1996    WEED (Getürkt) – court métrage/short

1998    SHORT SHARP SHOCK (L'Engrenage – Kurz und Schmerzlos)

2000    IN JULY (Julie en juillet – Im Juli)

2001    WE FORGOT TO GO BACK (Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren) – doc

2002    SOLINO

2004    Head-on (Gegen die Wand) * – Ours d’or/Golden Bear Berlinale 2004

Visions of Europe – segment THE EVIL OLD SONGS (Die alten Bösen Lieder) *

2005    Crossing the bridge: The sound of Istanbul – doc *

2007    THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (De l'autre côté – Auf der anderen Seite) * – Prix du Scénario/Best Screenplay Festival de Cannes 2007

2008    New York, I Love You – collectif

GERMANY 09 (Deutschland 09) – segment BEING MURAT KURNAZ (Der Name Murat Kurnaz)

2009    Soul Kitchen * – Prix spécial du Jury Venise 2009

2012    Polluting Paradise (Müll im Garten Eden) – doc *

2014    The Cut (La Blessure) *

* also producer



2006    TAKVA – A MAN’S FEAR OF GOD Özer Kiziltan

UOMINI D’ONORE Francesco Sbano – doc

2008    CHIKO Özgür Yildirim

2009    Min DIT (The Children of Diyarbakir) Miraz Bezar

2011    UFO IN HER EYES (Un ovni dans les yeux) Xiaolu Guo

BLUTZBRÜDAZ Özgür Yildirim

2012    FRAKTUS Lars Jessen

2013    MAMA COCA Suzan Sekerci – doc

MAMAROSH Momcilo Mrdakovic