Ölü Ekmeği

North America Premiere


Food for a Funeral - Olu Ekmegi - Reis Celik

Directed by REİS ÇELİK

Cast: Tarkhan Omerov, Zieddin Aliev, Mariam Buturishvilli

2020 / 98 min. / with English subtitles

The story of Ölü Ekmeği is set in a drought-ridden, poverty-stricken part of rural Anatolia at the beginning of the 1960s. It is customary in these parts for children to watch over their animals high up on the hillsides, from where they have sweeping views of the plain below. And if they see a smoking chimney down in one of the villages there in the middle of the day, they know that food is being cooked either for a wedding or for a funeral. This is because on a normal day, chimneys smoke just twice a day: once first thing in the morning and once in the evening. Noontime smoke therefore heralds an unusual event. Whenever a sighting is made, one or two children are sent down into the village to see whatever food they can beg, borrow or steal and bring it back for them all to share.

Mustafa is one such child. He is also the apprentice of a well-known Ashik in the area. Young Mustafa yearns and burns to become an Ashik like his master, but this is no easy task. As tradition has it, the status of an Ashik not only demands innate talent, learning and diligence, it also requires the candidate to have had a dream in which he drinks of the wine of love from the hands of a sage. Mustafa’s motivation derives largely from his impatience to write songs for Gülbayaz, a girl older than himself who he loves with a passion, and to win her heart.

There are times when Mustafa gets tired of his master’s strict discipline and escapes to the hills to spend time with his friends grazing the animals. He also happens to be the most enthusiastic among them when it comes to fetching the pickings on offer in villages where the chimneys smoke at noontime. But in the two villages he visits, two big surprises lie in store. One is a wedding feast, the other a funeral feast. And both will make him suffer...

Selected Festivals and Awards

  • Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan (2019): World Premiere
  • Love is Folly International Film Festival, Bulgaria (2020): Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers Award
  • Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, Turkey (2020)


Reis CelikReis Çelik was born in Ardahan, in east Anatolia, in 1961. He moved to Istanbul after junior high school and studied music and theatre at the State Conservatoire. In 1982 he began a career in journalism, working as an economics/political correspondent for various national newspapers. In the following years, both his interviews and photographs appeared in several international newspapers and magazines. Around the same time, he began making documentary films, commercial and political campaign films, as well as maintaining an active interest in still photography. To date Çelik's photographic work has been featured in exhibitions in over 12 countries. He has written, directed and produced documentaries of different lengths, varying between 30 and 60 minutes (these include “The Story of Lydia” co-financed by the BBC in 1989 and more recently, “Land of Firsts”). In 1996 he directed his debut feature, ‘Işıklar Sönmesin’ (“Let There Be Light”), a humanitarian take on the Kurdish conflict in southeast Turkey, which won several awards on the international festival circuit. He followed this with another feature ‘Hoşçakal Yarın’ (‘Goodbye Tomorrow’) in 1998, which focuses on a key figure of the Turkish students’ movement who was executed in the early 1970s. He made his third film, ‘İnat Hikayeleri’ (‘Tales of Intransigence’), all improvised feature, in 2004. Following ‘Mülteci’ (“Refugee”) in 2008, ‘Lal Gece’ (“Night Of Silence”) 2012 is Reis Celik’s 5th feature film. He is known to Eurimages as author/director and producer of the film “Goodbye Tomorrow” (1998) as well as for his first creative-documentary full-length cinema film (80 minutes) “Inat hikayeleri” (2004, “Tales of Intransigence”). Food For A Funeral (2019)




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