Director: Yusuf Emre Yalçın
Producers: Ezgi Selin Ülkü, Cemre Yılmaz, Yusuf Emre Yalçın
Graphic Design: Ferhat Akbaba
Production Company: Paspas Film
40. Istanbul Film Festival, National Documentary Competition, 2021.
Anima explores the influence different cultures and beliefs have upon the relationships between humans and animals by travelling to different regions around Turkey and witnessing a range of events. Set against the backdrop of personal memories and dreams, Anima investigates the ideologies and rituals associated with sacredness and sacrifice.
The journey starts at a camel wrestling-cum-beauty contest in the Aegean region of Turkey. During this contest, Anima juxtaposes the attitudes of a patriarchal society with the director’s questioning of his own identity as he recollects his relationship with—and alienation from—his own community.
Anima then heads to Konya in Central Anatolia, populated almost entirely by conservative Muslim Turks. During the “Festival of the Sacrifice”, Anima follows the trajectory of a sacrificial ceremony, beginning at a live animal market and culminating with an Imam’s sermon. In the process, the director recounts childhood memories of a cow being sacrificed and questions of the dynamics of gender and species through the lens of his relationship with his father and religion.
The journey continues in the Dersim Region, inhabited mostly by Kurdish and Zazaki people. There, Anima observes a different belief system based on Zoroastrianism. While exploring different locations in Dersim that are considered sacred by locals, Anima follows the lives of a cow, a goat, a Zarathustra, and of several local villagers. From that point on, the lines between memories, dreams, reality, and fiction start to blur.