23rd Boston Turkish Film Festival 2024 - Boston Turk Film Festivali



East Coast Premiere

SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2024 | 2:00 pm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Avenue

Director Present. Q&A following film screening.



Directed by Melisa Önel

Written by Feride Çİçekoğlu, Melisa Önel

Cast: Defne Kayalar, Öner Erkan, Şerif Erol, Ayşenil Şamlıoğlu, Dilan Çiçek Deniz,
Aysel Yıldırım, Esra Kızıldoğan, Mehmet Bilge Aslan

115 min. / 2022 / with English subtitles

After decades of living in Hamburg, Reyhan returns to Istanbul with her husband for a short time. On the eve of setting back, Reyhan realizes that she has lost her sense of smell. When a doctor’s appointment leaves her anxious about the possibility of a serious illness, instead of undergoing more tests she decides to follow her own instincts to regain her sense of smell. One morning she vanishes, she secretly moves into her late grandmother’s flat, gets a random job at a
hotel, meets a blind man. As she ventures away from the life prescribed to her chasing after scents, she goes back to the origins of her biggest wounds; to a fisherman’s coast where her childhood has passed and to a woman called Leman with whom guilt and desire are meshed together. Just as assuming a new life seems easy and plausible, she realizes that she has become a missing person. She considers; is this her chance for freedom?

From the Director

"Feride Çiçekoğlu and I came together for the third time in writing a script. We felt strongly about our character becoming a missing person both a form of transgression and a way to question agency and womanhood. As we worked on the script we tackled issues of what is considered to be ‘permissible’ in terms of female desire… What it means to be a woman, to be selfish, to desire and walk in the streets… A voyeur and flaneuse, does it give a chance to redefine our character; Reyhan… does it give a chance for freedom?"

Selected Festivals and Awards

  • Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan (2022): World Premiere
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2023)
  • Vancouver Film Festival, Panorama: Canada (2023)
  • Ankara Film Festival, Türkiye (2023)
  • Nordic Film Days Lübeck, Germany (2023)
  • Istanbul Modern, Türkiye (2023): Special Screening
  • FEST, Belgrade, Serbia (2024)


Melisa Önel is a filmmaker and photographer. After studying International Relations at Tufts University, she continued with Film Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University. Her photography work has been presented in many international exhibitions and she collaborates in theater, making video installations. She has been writing and directing shorts, fiction films and documentaries since 2007, including Me and Nuri Bala (Best First Documentary at Antalya Film Festival 2009), Seaburners (Kumun Tadı, Berlinale Forum 2014), and Coastliners (Kıyıdakiler, International Istanbul Film Festival 2016). Önel’s Seaburners (Kumun Tadı) was screened at the 14th Boston Turkish Film Festival in 2015.


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