December 15, 2022
by Volkan Uce
Menuetto Film | Belgium
The 2 square meters of soil where a Turkish immigrant in Belgium wants to be buried, represents a fundamental choice after a life between two countries and two cultures: will this soil be in Turkey or in Belgium?
Tayfun (44) is the first Turkish mortician in Belgium. Finally, he can quit his job as a factory worker and starts doing a job that allows him to wear a tailor-made suit. At first, those around him were very skeptical about his career switch. However, things go well for him. Thanks to his new image, an impeccable appearance, and especially thanks to his good work as a mortician, he manages to enjoy prestige and earn money. When he goes on a mission to persuade Turkish immigrants to be buried in Belgium instead of Turkey, things turn out to be more difficult than he expected.
Kemal Göksen (55) is a private ambulance driver in Kayseri. He has a dilapidated ambulance and a shabby little office next to an Armenian cemetery in Kayseri. His job is to pick up the bodies of European Turks at the Kayseri airport and bring them to a cemetery within a radius of several hundred kilometers.
Kemal is angry with Tayfun because Tayfun has started working with Dolunay, a large Ankara-based company, as a middleman, instead of directly with him. Kemal now earns only a fraction of what he used to earn before.
Tayfun guides a Belgian Turkish family, that has a loved one buried in Belgium, and another family, who chooses to have their loved one buried in Turkey.
In Flemish politics Tayfun finds no real allies in his efforts. The more he tries, the more Tayfun begins to doubt. Perhaps integration is an illusion and this becomes painfully clear upon the death of a Belgian Turk.
As a filmmaker, Volkan makes sure that his films are more than just an exotic story. Besides informing and creating empathy for his protagonists, Volkan also strives, in a subtle way, to confront the audience with themselves.
His first full-length documentary ‘Displaced’ had its world premiere at DOK Leipzig 2017. ‘Displaced’ shows the identity crisis of third-generation Turks growing up in Belgium and the Netherlands. At the same time the film tells a lot about current Turkish and Western European society.
Volkan’s last documentary ALL-IN had a very successful festival run which started here at the WEMW. Later on it was selected at Copenhagen Docs, Hotdocs, Tallinn, Fipadoc and European Film award. Volkan is also selected for this year’s Berlinale Talents.
Menuetto is a Belgian independent film & tv production company, specializing in author driven fiction and documentary with mainstream potential.
• Le Paradis (feature film, dir. Zeno Graton, copro BE/FR – coproducer) – Berlinale 2023, Generation 14plus
• The Fruit Tree (short film, dir. Isabelle Tollenaere – producer) – Venice Film Festival 2022, Orizzonti
• The Eight Mountains (feature film, dir. Felix van Groeningen & Charlotte Vandermeersch, copro IT/BE/FR – coproducer) – Festival de Cannes 2022, Official Competition, winner of the Jury Prize
• La Civil (feature film, dir. Teodora Ana Mihai, copro BE/RO/MEX, 2021 – producer) – Festival de Cannes 2021, Un Certain Regard, winner of the Audacity Prize
• BREXIT Behind Closed Doors (documentary 120 min, dir. Lode Desmet, copro BE/UK, 2019 –producer)
• GIRL (feature film, dir. Lukas Dhont, copro BE/NL, 2018 – associate producer) –Festival de Cannes 2018, Caméra d’Or