“Bergen” tells the story of 1980s Turkish pop singer Bergen, who grappled with a violent husband that hired someone to pour nitric acid on her face and later shot and killed her. The film follows the singer’s meteoric rise from cello player to becoming Turkey’s “Queen of Arabesque,” all while struggling with a partner hellbent on sabotaging her career.
As previously reported by Variety, the film has become a sleeper box office hit across West Asia where it has resonated with audiences for its potent message about domestic violence. In Turkey, the film sparked controversy and heightened awareness of the government’s lenience towards perpetrators of femicide after the country last year formally left the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty that requires signatories to fight violence against women.
Binay and Alper are domestic partners who began their career working in documentary filmmaking, and produced a series of documentaries on minorities, identity and gender.
Their first feature, “Zenne Dancer” (2012), which won more than 25 international prizes on the festival circuit, was inspired by the true story of Ahmet Yildiz, who was murdered by his own father after coming out as gay.
Their second feature film “Drawers” (2015) is a coming-of-age film about a teenage girl, and was chosen as best film at the Nuremberg International Film Festival.
Their latest project, “Bergen,” is so far the eighth highest-grossing local film in Turkish history. The film has hit cinemas in more than 20 countries.
(Pictured, L-R: M. Caner Alper, Mehmet Binay)