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Director Emin Alper on Tackling Political Manipulation And Turkish Homophobia in ‘Burning Days’

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Nick Vivarelli International CorrespondentTurkish screenwriter and director Emin Alper, whose dystopian drama (“Frenzy”) in 2015 made a splash in Venice and who more recently helmed hit TV series “Aleph” about two detectives on the trail of a dervish-turned-serial killer in Istanbul, is in Cannes for the first time with incendiary drama “Burning Days” screening in Un Certain Regard.It’s about a young and earnest prosecutor named Emre who gets pulled into corrupt populist politics while investigating a murder and forms a bond with the owner of the local newspaper.Alper spoke to Variety about how “Burning Days” reflects the rise of authoritarian populism and mounting homophobia, and not just in his country.

ExcerptsOver the past years I’ve been surprised to see that similar things are happening around the world. We experienced Trump, for example.

It was really shocking for me. So I decided to write a story about our desperate situation. So, the initial point was: I want to show how these types of neo-populist or neo-fascist people can exploit the very basic needs of people and keep their corrupt system in place.That was my starting point.

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