LET’S GAZE SKY is tragic love story that flourishes during the chaotic days of rebellious Gezi Park uprising of a youthful generation that took to the streets in defiance of the “sacred father”.
The leading male character OZ leads a life of ordinary comfort, thanks to his conformist family with business ties to the ruling party. His chance meeting with Gezi protester SERIN -the female leading character- kindles an awakening in him bringing out his free spirit that he didn’t realize before. But events also lead him to an inevitable choice between his comfortable life surrounded by similar white-coller friends and a wildly different life of love and freedom.
The film starts early on a calm spring morning at dusk with police forces raiding and burning the tents that the few intitial protesters had set up at Gezi Park the previous night. SERIN is among the few protesters that are evicted forcefully from the Gezi park with tear gas and battons. Her single tweet THEY ARE KILLING THE TREES AND US AS WELL triggers an avalanche of social media support with the hashtags #occupyGezi and #resistGezi. In no time, thousands of young people gather in Gezi Park and adjoining Taksim Square. While the heavily controlled Turkish media reports nothing of this, police brutality is documented and shared widely by individuals in social media and that helped raise awareness.
The prime minister’s condescending attitude is creatively rebuffed. When he calls the protesters “looters” (chapuldju) their response is dancing to newly created tune of chapulling. When Erdoğan calls them “drunkards” they chant slogans of “Cheers, Erdoğan”. As the protests gather steam, Serin is always at the front braving water cannons. In the meantime OZ is attending the board of directors meeting at his father’s firm. They all watch on TV SERIN standing up to a police vehicle, and then being hurled into the air by a water-cannon and hitting her head on the curb.
The future victims of the events are totally unaware of each other at that time living in the different cities of the country. Ali Ismail is at his university campus with friends; Ethem is having a cup of his mother’s tea; Mehmet is washing dishes at the restaurant he works in in; Abdocan is attentively listening to the news at the political party quarters; Berkin catches sight of events in a TV screen at a highschool; Medeni is having his breakfast of dry bread; Mustafa is wearing his robocop uniform; a young girl is packing her mother’s bakeries; the Red Dress Lady is boarding a bus. Their chances of ever getting to meet is going to be forcefully terminated soon but before that they’ll be retweeting eachother #resistGezi, #occupyGezi and etc.
As the protests develop OZ starts to despise his cocoonned comfortable life can no longer stay different and releases himself from his fiancee’s arms and their silk lined bed to visit Gezi Park one night. What he sees there is a miracle to him, a miracle in harmony, a miracle in dignity, justice, equality, fraternity and liberty. But soon, the first tear gas arrives and OZ finds himself coughing and tears streaming from his eyes. His lungs are burning and he starts vomiting. Hearing ahout of “raise your head!”, he turns towards the forceful sound of an alien-like young girl with a hard-hat and a gas mask on her face. SERIN holding a bottle of white liquid up close and before he knows it, she presses a trigger to spurt the medicinal mixture over his face. Riot police attack even stronger and they are running hard together to get out when an unlucky gas canister hits SERIN at the temple. OZ carries the unconscious SERIN reaching the make-shift street infirmary setup by the protesters. The future victims of the events are totally unaware of each other at that time living in the different cities of the country. Ali Ismail is at his university campus with friends; Ethem is having a cup of his mother’s tea; Mehmet is washing dishes at the restaurant he works in in; Abdocan is attentively listening to the news at the political party quarters; Berkin catches sight of events in a TV screen at a highschool; Medeni is having his breakfast of dry bread; Mustafa is wearing his robocop uniform; a young girl is packing her mother’s bakeries; the Red Dress Lady is boarding a bus. Their chances of ever getting to meet is going to be forcefully terminated soon but before that they’ll be retweeting eachother #resistGezi, #occupyGezi and etc. This chance meeting will start them on their inevitable tragectory. Their relation will develop with ups and downs. We follow their extraordinary story manning barricades, under tear gas and plastic bullets, at make-shift street infirmaries, and finally reaching a conclusion that makes a strong statement. By the end of the second week of the uprising, the government was more determined than ever to sweep of the protestors from Taksim Square and Gezi Park so police brutality reaches it’s peak. Police forces raiding and burning the tents, spraying orange gas and hard plastic bullets directly to the young people fighting for their freedom and human rights. Thousands of intoxications, hundreds of head traumas, dozens of eye injuries ends up with the withdrawal of the protestors. SERIN and OZ finally gets through the bombs however SERIN falls exhausted and faints. While OZ and SERIN rebel agains their sacred fathers in their micro worlds, millions of young people are risking their lives resisting against an authoritarian ruler that sees himself as the sacred father of Turkey and Middle East.
In the background, the noble resistance of the collective spirit of Gezi protests paints a much larger picture of chivalry, dignified values, tolerance for all, conciliation of differences, solidarity, grace, disporportionate sense of humour; with people at extreme poles getting together with understanding, with opposing views practicing tolerance, with shared food and possessions, with pianists, accordeonists, LGBTs, with doctors in handcuffs, with lawyers dragged by police on the floor and of course, with our lost sons that we had to bury in our hearts.
By the end of the second week of the uprising, the government was more determined than ever to sweep of the protestors from Taksim Square and Gezi Park so police brutality reaches it’s peak. Police forces raiding and burning the tents, spraying orange gas and hard plastic bullets directly to the young people fighting for their freedom and human rights. Thousands of intoxications, hundreds of head traumas, dozens of eye injuries ends up with the withdrawal of the protestors. SERIN and OZ finally gets through the bombs however SERIN falls exhausted and faints.
CT Scanning indicates that SERIN has an aneurism at the junction of her optical nerves caused by the impact of the tear gas capsule by the head. Although surgeons insist to operate her immediately, she refuses this hazardous surgery. Istead of becoming a blind painter, she choosed to paint till tthe end.
In the following days, because of the family bonds of OZ, the couples relation comes to an end. On the other hand, OZ has discovered another way of life which he was unaware of and he gets confused. Fighting against his internal and external conflicts, he finally comes to a conclusion to choose the love and freedom.
Mounths after the ending of the uprising, SERIN exhibits a show in the Gezi Park. Inspired by her own CT Scan experience, she has painted body intersections of a couple during their intercourse. While some several levels of the intersections of painted CT scans are displayed at the back groud of the stage, SERIN performs movements in front of a crowd. However, not only the crowd and OZ watches the show but undercover police do also. As the show is a kind of immoral and insolent for a conservative government, police interferes to stop the show. During the riot, a cop hits SERIN by the head with his police baton and her field of vision suddenly decreases. OZ carries her away from the riot but she gets worse and faints. OZ takes her to the hospital however despite the doctors CPR process, she is brain-dead. Just before the doctors unplug the live-aid machine, they hear another heart beat coming from depth thus they figure out that she is pregnant. They all decide to keep her in coma till the delivery.
Days of suffer and hope starts for OZ. By the end of the 6th mounth of the pregnancy, SERIN’s baby comes to the world by caesarean section. OZ puts the boy onto his mother’s chest for the first and the last time, the newborn finds his mothers breast and milks for a while. When he gets exhausted, OZ holds his son, and says goodby to his lover’s ear and the doctors unplugge SERIN from life and names their baby UMUT, which means “hope” in Turkish.
Sparked by the felling of a single tree on the morning of May 31st 2013, Gezi Park in central Istanbul witnessed the largest wave of protests in recent Turkish history.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest the proposed demolition of the park to make way for an Ottoman-style shopping centre, a project pushed personally by prime minister Erdoğan.
The government’s uncompromising stance and a heavy-handed police crackdown on protesters led to the protests quickly spreading all over Turkey, turning an initial environmental movement into a revolt against the increased authoritarianism of the country’s leader. Two weeks after the start of the revolt police forces violently evicted all protesters from Gezi Park. The protests took a heavy human toll: eight people died about 8,000 were injured, 104 sustained serious head injuries and 11 people lost an eye, a result of plastic bullets. Consequently, I wrote the script as a docudrama,
The toll Erdoğan eventually exacted on Turkish democracy was no less severe. He purged the police and judiciary of critics and passed laws that weakened constitutional checks and balances on the executive. In an attempt to stifle all criticism, the pressure on the media has increased, Twitter and YouTube were closed down for months. Even, not only writing but speaking about Gezi uprising, Roboski massacre, Reyhanli massacre, governmental corruptions, SOMA coal mine explosion disaster, ISIS and some other issues are prohibited by the government.
As a writer & director I believe the historic events, that affects a whole nation and even extended beyond its borders, must be immortalized with the art of cinema.
I was impressed with the idea, while tending to the wounded as a volunteer doctor in the make-shift infirmary in Gezi Park even as tear gas and rubber bullets were raining down. I recognized that I am in a unique position to tell this story as an “insider” who witnessed and observed the momentous events and unfolding dramas first hand. I started writing the diaries during the days of rebellion and finalised the script soon after the termination of revolts. 90% of the events in the script are true stories so my duty was to conjoin them together around some fictious/representative characters.
Consequently, I wrote the script as a docudrama, revolving around the tragic story of two young people whose love flourishes at the Gezi Park barricades with a backdrop of tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and riot police. As both the writer and director, I meticulously planned all scenes to make extensive use of real-life footage shot during the protests. Acted scenes will be mixed with the real-life footage to result in a plain, realistic and highly effective production approach.
I recognized that the Gezi protests that made history as a rebellious uprising against the perceived “Sacred Father” by masses aspiring for a just, free and sharing world. I feel that a film on these events should be brought to life in a widely collaborative effort, in keeping with the spirit of the protests that brought such a wide spectrum of people together – struggling, resisting and suffering for a common cause. I am therefore encouraging all to contribute ideas, memories, materials; and to be personally involved in all phases of the project from the reshaping of the draft script to the final production. The link below may give a brief idea about the director’s approach: