Jan 12, 2009

Yavaş Yavaş

Women's empowerment in the village, story of men and women in Turkey.

The Dutch filmmaker Maarten Rens is interested in the effect of women's emancipation on the position of both men and women. In this film he exposes in particular the role and attitude of men, and highlights the behaviour and emotions of husbands in a Turkish village. 
The film has been recorded in collaboration with the Turkish female film-maker
Özlem Sariyildiz, at the initiative of Jos Huber (policy advisor for the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment).  

In Turkey the position of women is changing fast.  Images of young, free women in cities as Istanbul and Ankara are seen everywhere. Unfortunately these images are only part of reality. The AK-party with their Muslim signature reigns in a country where the strong secular tradition of Ataturk is much stronger in the cities than it is rooted in the villages. Intense ideological struggle with the headscarf made the Turkish state shake to its foundations. The AKP is committed to achieving membership of the EU. Under that influence the juridical position of women, being equal to men, has been strengthened considerably.  But what happens meanwhile in the traditional villages in the countryside? Are they aware of the judicial changes in personal relationships between husband and wife? What is the role of Islam and traditions in their lives?

The documentary Yavaş Yavaş (Slowly, slowly) shows an emancipation project in a traditional village in the mountains near Bursa, where women started a collective to build and run a restaurant. Women and men in this small community tell their story about the first difficult and laborious steps. The women show disbelief about the resistance of the men. For the women it was of crucial importance to have a place of their own as they were not allowed to participate in the local cooperative for men. The importance of having their own place to meet and to work together is a red line.  The documentary aims to  register the uneasiness following the changes in the relation between men and women and the final recognition of the women’s success. In the end the community was able to find a new balance of power between men and women without losing their important and essential traditions.
What does emancipation in a Turkish village look like from within? We’ll see a group of headscarved women running a restaurant, to finance ‘good works’ for the community with their earnings, in line with their religious conviction.
No public plea or arguing for economic independence for women, but just a project that unmistakable leads to the emancipation of women within Islam.
A moving, passionate and humorous story told from the point of view of both women and men.

29 min Turkish spoken, Dutch or English subtitled. 2009