Both screenings of Zenne Dancer will feature a post-screening discussion with directors M.Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay.
Zenne Dancer tells the tragic story of three close friends: Yildiz, born to a conservative Muslim family, German photographer Daniel, and exuberant male belly dancer Can, who has a close and supportive relationship with his family. As their unlikely friendship develops, we are drawn into how each character deals with what it means to be gay in contemporary Turkish society.
Zenne Dancer is Turkey's first film to depict honour killings related to homosexuality. The film questions prevalent gender hierarchies, pointing out that when it comes to sexuality, men can be as vulnerable to the impositions of society as women. Directors M. Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay were close friends with the real life Ahmet Yildiz, whose life inspired the film and, so they merged his story into a documentary they were filming on male belly dancers.
The film drew such widespread attention that the subsequent media coverage played an important role in increasing awareness about the tribulations faced by transgender and homosexual communities in Turkey's primarily patriarchal society. In addition, the film explores the degrading process for gay men enlisting in the Turkish army, where men like Yildiz and Can who declare their homosexuality are required to produce graphic visual evidence documenting their sexual activities. Zenne Dancer is truly a moving film that brings light to prevalent issues and perceptions regarding homosexuality in society.