Refig, Halit Biography

biography of Refig, Halit

5 March 1934, Izmir, Turkey
11 October 2009, Istanbul, Turkey (cancer)
Halit Refig, Turkish filmmaker, film critic and theoretician and an intellectual was born in Izmir, Turkey in 1934 to an industrial family. He attended Sisli Terakki High School and briefly attended Robert College Engineering Dept. During his military service he started making documentaries in Japan, Korea and Sri Lanka with a Super 8 camera. In 1957 he started the Turkish Film Review (Sinema Dergisi) with fellow film critic Nijat Ozon. Later he assisted director 'Atif Yilmaz' (qv) in two films. In 1961 he directed his first feature, _Yasak ask (1961)_ (qv). His approach to filmmaking was influenced by his friendship with the famous Turkish novelist 'Kemal Tahir' (qv). This collaboration gave fruit to Four Women in the Harem, which Refig scripted and later production of _Yorgun savasci (1979)_ (qv) in 1979, the most controversial film ever made in Turkish film history. Refig defended it and published a theory of national cinema, which he named Ulusal Sinema (national cinema). Later he revised his theory and called his work ATUT (Asiatic Mode of Production) cinema or Halk Sinemasi (Cinema of the People). Refig collected his articles on national cinema in a volume; Ulusal Sinema Kavgasi (Fight for a national Cinema). Refig and his fellow filmmakers like 'Metin Erksan' (qv) and 'Lutfi Akad' (qv) made nationalist films until late 1960s. In 1974, the newly established Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) commissioned Refig to make a literary adaptation of a Turkish novel of his choice. The result was _Ask-i memnu (1974) (TV)_ (Forbidden Love) which was hailed as the first Turkish TV mini series. In 1975 Refig joined fellow filmmakers to establish the Turkish Cinema and TV Institute. In 1977 he was invited to teach at University of Wisconsin where he made a Victorian period drama, Intercessors. In 1979 he was invited once again by the TRT to make Yorgun Savasci (Tired Warrior) Kemal Tahir's controversial novel. Described as the ultimate national cinema piece, the production and later on burning of the negatives by the military government in 1982 of Tired Warrior. The film was later aired in 1992 from a restored 1 inch tape. After this Refig made popular films for Turker Inanoglu. This gave Refig the opportunity to realize his smaller and more personal projects like Hanim (Madame). After nearly a decade Refig made _Kopekler adasi (1997)_ (qv) (Island of Dogs). The film received mixed reviews. As a filmmaker he made over 50 popular and personal films in Turkish film industry since 1961. As a film critic and theoretician he produced a significant body of film criticism and literally created a theory of national cinema, one that predates the theories of third cinema initiated in Latin American and African countries. Finally, as an intellectual he practiced what he preached. Refig focused on national and cultural identity in the young Turkish Republic, critiquing the westernization and nationalist ideologies in Turkey and favoring the traditional values and the Ottoman past. Refig deconstructed the Republican Kemalist ideology and the position of the Kemalist intellectual in Turkish society, discussed east-west and rural-urban tension in a rapidly changing social environment and the position of women in defining the new Turkish national identity. His work is also influenced by the psychoanalytical work of Freud and Jung's idea of collective consciousness. Refig likes applying a dialectical intellectual montage and German expressionist framing. Since 1975 Refig has taught at the Cinema and TV Institute of Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Murat Akser

-   'Gulper Refig' (1974 - present)

-   'Nilüfer Aydan' (qv) (1961 - 1965) (divorced)

-   'Eva Bender' (qv) (? - ?) (divorced)

-   Visiting Professor to Ohio Denison University in 1984.

-   His favorite film director is John Ford.

-   Cemal Resit Rey 75. Yasinda for Documentary (1979)

-   Documentary for Robert College: Old and New (1978)

-   Sedad Hakki Eldem ve Ulusal Mimarlik for Documentary (1977)

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Movies Produced

  1. Canim sana feda (1965) (co-producer)
  2. Istanbul'un kizlari (1964) (producer)