Transnational Orientalism: Ferzan Ozpetek’s Turkish Dream in Hamam (1997)

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The cinema of directors classified as ‘transnational’ has been increasingly associated with exceptional cultural configurations: The filmmakers' fluid geo-national position has been seen as a guarantee against rigid, stereotypical systems of thought and cognition. This approach has defined critical assessments of Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek, and has informed the reception of his first feature film, Hamam (1997). This paper focuses on Hamam's representation of Turkey, discussing the extent to which Özpetek may or may not offer a ‘new’ point of view, and arguing that transnational directors should be freed from the burden of re-representation. Specifically, the paper argues that Hamam's construction of Turkishness is embedded in an essentially Orientalist discourse; however, rather than the expression of a bigoted cultural position, Özpetek's use of an Orientalist code relates dynamically to the experience of dislocation, serving the director's mnemonic strategy by framing and conserving a specific national image.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-38
JournalNew Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


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