Translating Ulysses
Aylin Kuryel, Firat Yücel
NL – TR, 2023, col. & b-w, 70’
Kurdish – Turkish – English – Dutch o.v.

Italian premiere

Kawa Nemir is like a walking dictionary of the Kurdish language. He flees Turkey and takes refuge at Anne Frank’s former house in Amsterdam, where he undertakes a literary mission considered to be impossible: translating James Joyce’s Ulyssesto Kurdish, an oppressed language in Turkey.
Tribute to James Joyce: James, Giacomo, Jakob, Yakub

Kawa Nemir is like a walking dictionary of Kurdish language. Whenever he hears a new word, he records it and he never forgets. But how to transfer this collective memory into paper? With its vast range of words, symbols and anti-colonial resonance, James Joyce’s Ulysses becomes an obsession for him. A translation that would encapsulate all the Kurdish words and idioms he collected throughout the years. Will he be able to finish the translation of Ulysses and publish it? The film premiered at the Munich DOK.fest in 2023.

“We were fascinated by Kawa’s attempt to redeem the collective memory of the Kurdish language, as Kurdish is still a censored/prohibited/persecuted language in Turkey, despite its long history here. The translation of Ulysses serves as a dictionary of the everyday life of Kurdish people. The documentary takes the shape of a dictionary through an episodic/ multi-lingual/intertextual narration.” (A. Kuryel, F. Yücel)

Sceneggiatura, montaggio / Screenplay, Editing: Aylin Kuryel, Fırat Yücel
Fotografia / Photography: Aylin Kuryel, Fırat Yücel, Şener Özmen, Roy van Egmond
Suono / Sound: Metin Bozkurt
Interpreti / Cast: Kawa Nemir, Armagan Ekici, Şener Özmen, James Joyce Club- Turkey, Theater RAST, Şanoya Bajer a Amade, Celil Toksöz, Dodan Özer, Cemil Yıldız, Ceren Kuşdemir Özbilek, Margreet Dorleijn, Sadık Daşdöğen, Çetin Daşdöğen
Produzione / Produced by: Özgür Doğan, Aylin Kuryel, Fırat Yücel


Aylin Kuryel, Fırat Yücel
Film director and writer, Aylin Kuryel was born in Izmir, Turkey, in 1986. Kuryel has a PhD degree from Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Currently, she is based in Amsterdam, where she teaches at the local University. Film critic and filmmaker Fırat Yucel was born in Izmir, Turkey, in 1979. In 2001 he co-founded Altyazı a monthly Cinema Magazine, and worked as the magazine’s editor in chief since then. Fırat Yücel and Aylin Kuryel often work together and produce films with their artistic duo collective called Image Acts.

Selected filmography (Aylin Kuryel, Fırat Yücel)
2019 Bastan basa (Heads and Tails) doc. mm / ml 2022 The Thing That Goes Through Everything doc. cm / sf; March 8 2020: A Memoir doc. cm / sf 2023 Ulysses Çevirmek (Translating Ulysses) doc.

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