PRINT February 2003



“Talking is the only meaningful activity we’re capable of.” Thus spake Kutlug Ataman when we met in New York recently. Curious words for someone trained in “narrative film” at UCLA’s graduate film program, a Hollywood conduit where cinema is considered the presentation of actions, not words. Not so for this Turkish filmmaker and artist, whose “video vérités,” shown at biennials in Istanbul, Berlin, and Venice, as well as at Documenta 11, are centered on individuals who do little more than speak. This speech, however, is no ordinary ramble. In it, we witness something extraordinary. In works such as the nearly eight-hour-long kutlug ataman’s semiha b. unplugged, 1997, and the recent multiple-screen The Four Seasons of Veronica Read, 2002, Ataman has invented a sort of mini-genre in which the act of speaking becomes the primary event and the audience is left to put the story together without

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