A Long Story Of Small Town Life In Anatolia

The long story of the love of Bulgarian ali for the blond-haired Münire is coming to cinemas on October 12. Adapted from Mustafa Kutlu’s novel of the same name and directed by Osman Sınav, the film stars Kenan İmirzalioğlu and Tuğçe Kazaz.

Going about their lives in the towns they call their own, the film’s protagonists are at the same time showing us slices of Anatolian small town life. We all have a town, a village, we call our own, and yours, Osman Bey, is Yeşilova in Burdur province. What is life like there?

Osman Sınav: Where shall I begin? Have you ever slept in a harvested field? You lie down in the chaff at night and count the stars. Suddenly, far away, something slips between them. For years I thought they were shooting stars. Only later did I learn they were airplanes. We didn’t even know what an airplane was back then! Yeşilova is a village high up in the Taurus Mountains, covered in snow nine months of the year.

Kemal İmirzalıoğlu: I grew up in a village, too. The village of Üçem in Ankara province. The fields would turn lush green in spring and there would be hundreds of frolicking newborn lambs like snowballs. If one ran off, all the others would follow it… It’s the most beautiful image from my childhood. That and eating fruit fresh from the apple and apricot trees in our yard…

O.S.: Did you ever steal plum?

K. İ.: I never stole plums but once I stole a quince. I asked the owner for one but he wouldn’t give it to me. The headman of our village had a beautiful apricot tree. One day his wife was in the yard. “Hey, Auntie Nazmiye!” I called out, “Give me a quince.” She chased me away. My mother always said, “My son, if you have something, either eat it at home or, when you go out, offer it to everybody you see. The eye always has the right.” Following that logic, I said to myself: My eye saw the quince in the yard. I asked for it, but Auntie Nazmiye didn’t give it to me. Therefore by ‘eye right’, that quince belongs to me!”

Tuğçe Hanım, how was it where you grew up?

Tuğçe Kazaz: I spent my first 7 or 8 years in Ayvalık and Edremit. Freedom always comes to my mind when I think of small town life. Getting out of school and going off to play games, going swimming, the pine forests and tea gardens…

Let’s return now to Long Story. Why did it take so long to turn this story into a film?

O.S.: We’ve actually been thinking about Long Story for 11 years. In fact, it was that long ago that I gave Kenan the book to read. For years we were unable to capture the spirit of the story in the script. Some films are like that. They take 8-10 years to jell. This was a film I was only able to make in 10 years. It’s the same for actors. Some roles only appear once in a lifetime. You know how I said we were going to shoot it ten years ago? Well, there’s a reason for everything. It’s a good thing we waited and did it now, because now everything has fallen into place. How shall I say? It all came together.

The two of you were agreed then. But what about the character of Münire?

K.İ.: Who was going to play Münire? That was the big question for 11 years. It had to be a magical girl, with blond hair and bright eyes..
O.S.: Ali was clear from the start but not Münire.

So how did you find her?

K.İ.: One day Osman said he had auditioned Tuğçe Kazaz. I was surprised of course. But he said, wait, see it first, so we watched it together, and she really was Münire! A night passed. The next day I saw Tuğçe’s picture in the paper. I looked it and saw Münire!

Tuğçe Hanım, how did things develop on your side?

T.K.: I last made a television film in 2007. After that I concentrated only on modeling. I looked at seven different scripts between 2007 and 2012, but I’m a person who knows what she wants and none of them appealed to me. Then one day I got a call from an agency saying, we’re considering you for Long Story. I read the script and was excited. We talked and I auditioned. For a month I heard nothing. I said to myself, it’s probably not going to happen, it’s not meant to be. Then, two weeks before filming was going to start, I got a message from Osman Bey: “Congratulations, Münire is yours. Inshallah, it will be a success for all of us.

THE SCRIPT AND MUSIC FOR LONG STORY

Adapted by Yiğit Güralp from Mustafa Kutlu’s novel of the same name, Long Story has a stellar cast including Altan Erkekli, Güven Kıraç, Zafer Algöz, Cihat Tamer, Mahir Günşiray and Mustafa Alabora. The film music was composed by Ulaş Özdemir.

Going about their lives in the towns they call their own, the film’s protagonists are at the same time showing us slices of Anatolian small town life. We all have a town, a village, we call our own, and yours, Osman Bey, is Yeşilova in Burdur province. What is life like there?

Osman Sınav: Where shall I begin? Have you ever slept in a harvested field? You lie down in the chaff at night and count the stars. Suddenly, far away, something slips between them. For years I thought they were shooting stars. Only later did I learn they were airplanes. We didn’t even know what an airplane was back then! Yeşilova is a village high up in the Taurus Mountains, covered in snow nine months of the year.

Kemal İmirzalıoğlu: I grew up in a village, too. The village of Üçem in Ankara province. The fields would turn lush green in spring and there would be hundreds of frolicking newborn lambs like snowballs. If one ran off, all the others would follow it… It’s the most beautiful image from my childhood. That and eating fruit fresh from the apple and apricot trees in our yard…

O.S.: Did you ever steal plum?

K. İ.: I never stole plums but once I stole a quince. I asked the owner for one but he wouldn’t give it to me. The headman of our village had a beautiful apricot tree. One day his wife was in the yard. “Hey, Auntie Nazmiye!” I called out, “Give me a quince.” She chased me away. My mother always said, “My son, if you have something, either eat it at home or, when you go out, offer it to everybody you see. The eye always has the right.” Following that logic, I said to myself: My eye saw the quince in the yard. I asked for it, but Auntie Nazmiye didn’t give it to me. Therefore by ‘eye right’, that quince belongs to me!”

Tuğçe Hanım, how was it where you grew up?

Tuğçe Kazaz: I spent my first 7 or 8 years in Ayvalık and Edremit. Freedom always comes to my mind when I think of small town life. Getting out of school and going off to play games, going swimming, the pine forests and tea gardens…

Let’s return now to Long Story. Why did it take so long to turn this story into a film?

O.S.: We’ve actually been thinking about Long Story for 11 years. In fact, it was that long ago that I gave Kenan the book to read. For years we were unable to capture the spirit of the story in the script. Some films are like that. They take 8-10 years to jell. This was a film I was only able to make in 10 years. It’s the same for actors. Some roles only appear once in a lifetime. You know how I said we were going to shoot it ten years ago? Well, there’s a reason for everything. It’s a good thing we waited and did it now, because now everything has fallen into place. How shall I say? It all came together.
The two of you were agreed then. But what about the character of Münire?
K.İ.: Who was going to play Münire? That was the big question for 11 years. It had to be a magical girl, with blond hair and bright eyes..
O.S.: Ali was clear from the start but not Münire.

So how did you find her?

K.İ.: One day Osman said he had auditioned Tuğçe Kazaz. I was surprised of course. But he said, wait, see it first, so we watched it together, and she really was Münire! A night passed. The next day I saw Tuğçe’s picture in the paper. I looked it and saw Münire!

Tuğçe Hanım, how did things develop on your side?

T.K.: I last made a television film in 2007. After that I concentrated only on modeling. I looked at seven different scripts between 2007 and 2012, but I’m a person who knows what she wants and none of them appealed to me. Then one day I got a call from an agency saying, we’re considering you for Long Story. I read the script and was excited. We talked and I auditioned. For a month I heard nothing. I said to myself, it’s probably not going to happen, it’s not meant to be. Then, two weeks before filming was going to start, I got a message from Osman Bey: “Congratulations, Münire is yours. Inshallah, it will be a success for all of us.