He has some interesting records in the cinema sector as well; for example, in 1975 he shot a movie without a scenario. “My age is old, not me,” says Aram Gulyuz and nowadays he has a project that he is very excited about: his new scenario “Kınalı Ah Kınalı.”
The story takes place on Kınalı Ada, one of the seven Princess Islands of İstanbul, and it is about the multi-ethnical structure of Turkey. Gulyuz is looking for a sponsor for his film and says, “It is a movie that will tell the whole world about us, like the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’”
He thinks that the movies that were produced in Turkey with big dreams and which did not achieve the expected success on the world stage have one thing in common: they did not contain a universal message.
The story of “Kınalı Ah Kınalı” concerns a young Armenian girl who is about to marry a Buddhist in Los Angeles. Her family is against the marriage and the movie begins as they move to Kınalı Ada. The movie points out the close relations between Armenian, Assyrian, Jewish and Muslim families living in Turkey. Gulyuz plans to give the lead role of Nayat, the Armenian girl, to an American actress.
Aram Gulyuz was born in 1931 and he volunteered for 18 months as a soldier in the Korean War. He lived in London for six years and started his cinematic career in 1960 with Halit Refig’s encouragement, another renowned movie director. Throughout his career, Gulyuz has most often worked with the famous comedic actors Sadri Alisik and Ajda Pekkan.
He says that a Hindu whom he met when he was in England deeply influenced his philosophy of life. “I forget yesterday, I only think of tomorrow. I don’t even have a photograph from my wedding. I never go to the funerals. Just because of that I didn’t go to my mother’s funeral and my sister still doesn’t talk to me,” says Aram Gulyuz.
“THERE ARE NO STARS IN THE TURKISH CINEMA ANYMORE”
According to the famous film director, who has worked with many important names in the Turkish cinema, no one has yet filled the places of the great actors like Hulusi Kentmen, Sadri Alisik, Ozturk Serengil, Adile Nasit, Kadir Savun, Erol Tas, Huseyin Baradan, or Danyal Topatan.
“They were great characters with their voices and mimicry. Today, we have actors but they don’t have strong voices like the old dramatic actors did,” he says.
“In the old days the producers used to call the directors and order two Cuneyt Arkın, one Turkan Soray movie for the year. What the themes would be or what the scenarios were weren’t important. Films were produced according to the name of the actor playing in them and then they were put on the market,” Gulyuz adds.
For him, being a director is not something learned at school. The directors he tutored are still working in the film industry today.
He believes that he has learned something from all of the 150 movies that he directed. The years that he most enjoyed his work were the years 1965-1970 when approximately 350 films were produced a year.
He most enjoyed working with Sadri Alisik. “Saffet Beni Affet” (Forgive Me, Saffet) which he shot in 1976 with Sadri Alisik, Perran Kutman and Selma Guneri is his favorite movie. Gulyuz had also directed many erotic movies, which were once very popular in the Turkish cinema.
He says they shot very funny erotic comedies in this period and enjoyed the experience a lot. His biggest complaint, on the other hand, is that every night various TV channels show his movies, but he cannot benefit from his rights because of the copyright law. “There is a law, but who cares,” he says.
HIS OLD PAL
Aleks Alboyacian is a very special old friend for Aram Gulyuz, the man with whom he started his career. Alboyacian is both a relative and his first partner in the movie business.
The couple used to own the Metro Film Company, which introduced many firsts to the Turkish movie-going audience; for example, they showed the first foreign movie in the theaters.
Gulyuz discovered the famous movie star İzzet Gunay and Aleks Alboyacian was the one who convinced Turkan Soray’s mother to let him cast her in his movie when she was 16, which opened the way for her to become the Sultana of the Turkish cinema.
Alboyacian retired from the cinema in 1969 and now lives in New Jersey, USA. Nowadays his biggest wish is to meet his old friend Gulyuz to reminisce about the good old days.
22nd Issue, October 2006.