Is her child the singularly supreme responsibility of a woman? Can a woman sideline her child to pursue bigger goals as an individual? Can a child’s right to her mother ever be compromised?
These are some of the question that Turkish director Belma Bas explores in her debut feature film Zephyr being featured in the Competition Section of the 15th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
The film, set in the idyllic settings of the Black Sea region of Turkey, is an attempt to question general notions about the innocence of childhood and idolisation of motherhood.
``Zephyr is about growing up in the most general sense. It’s about childhood, family and fear of abandonment. I have tried to questions some things that we take for granted in our lives like childhood and idolisation of motherhood,’’ said Ms. Bas speaking to The Hindu.
The film focuses on a daughter who is determined to be with her mother, who on the other hand leaves her daughter with her own parents to do voluntary work abroad. Ms. Bas says that she has neither tried to justify nor blame the mother in the film, which, she says, is not a feminist film.
``I can see myself in both the mother and the child. For me they are the same woman. The mother herself is not a grown up person for me because in her loving family she remains always as a child,’’ she said.
Zephyr, which is also written by Ms. Bas, has been screened in festivals in Turkey, Tokyo, Toronto and Abu Dhabi where it won the Netpac award.
Interestingly, Ms. Bas has cast her own family in this film that tells tales of familial ties. The role of the grandparents have been donned by her parents Sevnic and Rustu Bas while the lead role of the child Zephyr has been done by her niece Seyma Uzunlar. The supporting artists include her aunts and uncles.
``Vahide Gordum, who plays the mother, is the only professional actor in the film which has been shot in our country house high up in the mountains in the Black Sea region. It is difficult to direct ones own family. For once I was directing my parents to do things. I was tough at times. But it came out very well and I think they all look natural,’’ she said. She added that although the main storyline is fictional the subthemes in the film reflect incidents from her childhood.
Ms. Bas, who had previously made a short film about similar theme of childhood and death, is now working on her next project which also deals with the mother-daughter relationship, but this time in more urban settings. She says that her second film will focus on the mother’s point of view.
Despite her fascination for the dynamics of the mother-child relationship, Belma Bas says that she does not plan to have children. ``I idolise the mother child relationship a lot. But I don’t think that every woman should be a mother. But my mother is still hoping. For me my films are my children.’’
Ms. Bas said that more and more women were now entering the film scene in Turkey, especially in documentary and short film-making. Her sister Berke Bas is a documentary film-maker and editor of Zephyr.