In the '60s and '70s Turkey, films that copied and took inspiration from Hollywood were being mass produced at an extreme speed for the quick buck. Huge American hits were remade in their own versions by the thousands as there were no copyright laws. This is the story of how it all went down and what kept the business going.
We've all seen them; those hilarious Turkish rip-offs. "Star Wars", "Spiderman", "The Exorcist", "Tarzan", "Dracula", "First Blood" and even "The Wizard of Oz". I imagine that since the days of the internet arriving in every person's home, you've gone through a number of these for a cheap laugh and recommended them to a friend just to see their reaction when they see the Turkish version of "Spiderman" in "3 dev adam", who appears as a brutal villain. There is no shame in this - the movies are ridiculous by any standard. It's hard to imagine that these movies were ones huge in their home country, and brought an audience unlike anything else. "Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema", which screened at Fantasia International Film Festival 2015, shows a glimpse of this long gone era.
In Turk in the '60s and '70s, filmmakers didn't have the time or money to get scripts written so they decided to just take from every source of inspiration they could, mainly big American movies or Turkish novels. As the copyright laws were nonexistent they could borrow freely from any source imaginable, even going as far as taking complete soundtracks or even scenes from big movies like "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark". This was how the industry was in Turkey. People involved in the business had to go to extreme measures to create them on the cheap and fast. Sometimes that would mean doing dangerous things in front of the camera with no security at all.
Besides all the outrageous and bizarre things that were done to create these movies, "Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema" brings out the sincere side of it all. It shows how people with no real knowledge in film cameras, effects, and equipment could put together their own camera dollies, make best use of editing, and sometimes come out with complete movies in just days - and still have an audience. This is unheard of in Hollywood. It is hard not to admire the work that was put into these productions, no matter how stupid or silly the outcome might have been.
The documentary takes a quick look at how the film business in Turkey changed in the '80s due to political decisions to censor the most absurd things - small things like cops running. Not to mention the state of the business today, which is miles away from the weird, eccentric times of the '60s/'70s - yet most people involved in this documentary look back with fondness.
Watching this documentary is just great for any fan of film. It can't possibly show us exactly how things went down back then, but it goes into the real heart and soul of creating movies simply for the money, if that indeed has heart and soul (this film proves it does). A must watch for the curious!
Note: Some of the screenshots used are publicity shots.