Director : Aysim Türkmen

Producer : Metropol Film

Script : Aysim Türkmen, Can Merdan Doğan, Şirin Güven

Format : DCP 2.35:1

Duration : 96 min

Language : Turkish

Contact :


Arabesque Underground tells the story of the youth in the once slums, new suburbs of Istanbul. Rapping, dancing, rolling around and hanging cool, but soon swearing, fighting and protesting in pains to prove themselves to the world, the boys and girls write their stories on the wired walls of this new world.


The boys of the hood have finally fixed the studio that had been in their dreams. They are preparing for the talent competition and working on an arabesque rap dedicated to the brother to be released from the jail. The brother comes out, and yet he is stuck with the love story that he kept alive in his imagination. It then is revealed that he, who has been thought to have unjustly served time, did actually smuggle drugs for that very same love. The kids of the hood, who wish to escape the tragedies of the underground, try to hang on to their dreams through dance and music. But the ruthless prospering city of Istanbul will reduce their fantasies into ashes.

I Love You in Your Absence


“Cekmekoy Underground” caught my eye on a street in a suburb of Istanbul. It was written as a graffiti by the boys of the hood on a wall with barbed wires.

The Underground of Istanbul had suddenly erupted as a psychological space in which contradictory states of fear and anger, bravery and insecurity, rebellion and grudge were voiced simultaneously. In this space, tragedies run alongside buffoonery.

I wanted to portray this multifaceted state of the underground through the divergent characters of two brothers, Tarik and Cemal. The film would be the mirror on which these two characters would look at each other while reflecting the underground.

The controversies, which permeate the Underground, point out the nature of capitalistic desire which arouses but never satisfies. The graffiti “I Love You in Your Absence” voices the gist of this desire: While love first appears as a source of enjoyment and excitement, it begins to underline an absence as the impossibility of its realization is recognized. Cemal runs after this desire, turning himself into a ghost, moving in the shadows of a tragic absence. Tarik evades the desire he can never fulfill and holds onto whatever is left behind the tragic losses.

The story of Cemal and Tarik as “The Lords of the Ruins”, disrupt the gloss of the new Istanbul. Digging under the shiny surface of the city, the film will reflect the fantasies as well as the ruins, in fragments just like a broken mirror.

  • Tarık Can Sipahi
  • Cemal Kerem Can
  • Berfin Gözde Kocaoğlu
  • Ayça Aslı Menaz
  • Ferhat Barış Gönenen
  • İsmail Onur Öztay
  • Emir Hakan Ummak
  • Ali Özer Arslan
  • Havva (Tarık's Mother) Ayşe Selen
  • Saffet Metin Göksel
  • Leyla Tülin Özen
  • Cevher (Berfin's Mother) Selen Uçer
  • Hüseyin (Tarık's Father) Levend Yılmaz
  • Maya Sedef Canbaz
  • Kadir İsmail Karagöz
  • Sales Lady Zeynep Okan
  • Original Music by Acarkan Özkan, Uran Apak, Erhan Seyran
  • Director of Photography Vedat Özdemir
  • Editor Ayhan Ergürsel
  • Asistant Director Burçak Üzen
  • 2.Asistant Director Dilek Alaca
  • Art Director Elif Taşçıoğlu
  • Line Producer Ateş Benek
  • Costume Designer Yeliz Buyruk
  • Casting Sinem Arslan
  • Key Grip Taner Karakulak
  • Production Coordinator Süleyman Erdem Sezer
  • Production Asistant Şeyma Kasap
  • Hair Design and Make-Up Mehmet Baksi

Music Video of The Lord Of The Ruins


Aysim Turkmen, scriptwriter, film director and film producer. She is the founder of the film production company, Metropol Film. She made several award winning documentaries, especially concerning urban issues. She was a jury member for documentary films in Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival 2011 and Akbank Short Film Competition 2012 in Turkey. She shot and produced her first feature-length fiction film in 2014, called "Arabesque Underground" (original title: Cekmekoy Underground).

BIRTH PLACE: Istanbul, 1973


Arabesque Underground
(Original Title: Çekmeköy Underground)

Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival
Istanbul Film Festival

Selahattin’s İstanbul
Akbank Short. Film Festival, Best Documentary Film Award
İstanbul Urban and Architecture Film Festival, Best Documentary Film Award
Barcelona Film Festival
Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival

Galata Tower Street, No:23
İstanbul Urban and Architecture Film Festival, Best Documentary Film Award
Shot with the support of funds (for production) from Turkish Ministry of Culture

KAPİTAL-İSTanbul Akbank Short. Film Festival, Best Documentary Film Award
Hisar Film Festival, Best Sound Design Award