To coincide with the opening of Somerset House’s exhibition of objects from Orhan Pamuk’s 'Museum of Innocence', 'The Third' was thrilled to welcome the acclaimed novelist himself and filmmaker Grant Gee to BFI Southbank for an extended introduction to a preview of their film Innocence of Memories.
In the film, in the novel on which it is based, and in the exhibition itself, the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature explores the murky but mesmerising byways of passion and remembrance – and of Istanbul itself. In this multi-layered melding of fiction and fact, Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk reworks and expands upon themes and characters from his own novel and museum. Taking his novel 'The Museum of Innocence' as its starting point, and with original narration written by Pamuk himself, Gee’s film interlaces an account of an intense romantic encounter, the story of an Istanbul museum packed with objects pertaining to that affair, a meditation on the city itself... and Pamuk’s relationship to all three. Documentary and archive footage, interviews with the writer, enactments of the fraught erotic adventure, examinations of the evocative objects in the museum, travelling shots along the dark streets and windy waters of the great Turkish city – all combine to create an elegant, imaginative and dreamily sensuous exploration of memory and (be)longing, infatuation and illusion, love and loss.
Has/have any of our members been in Constantinople (or Ïstanbul as it is now sometimes known)? A lot of old mosques what, but none of kc's masked ladies that I saw. The "taxi" journeys both from and to the aerodrome were - for simple speed - definitely the most terrifying of my life. I lodged at the Pera Palas which was not (at least in 1966) expensive at all. A delightful northern american youth was putting up in the neighbouring room. He tried - I forget why - to take the train to Syria (a former French colony) but soon reappeared as he had not been able to obtain the required permission(s).
I should perhaps explain that my masked ladies were, at least according to the film, young Turkish women who appeared in newspapers, generally the victims of rape and/or murder. I am not sure that I can recommend the film, the museum or the book to 'The Third', as I got very confused between fact and fiction!