Postcolonial Ghosts in New Turkish Cinema: A Deconstructive Politics of Memory in Dervis Zaim’s ‘The Cyprus Trilogy’

Arinc, Cihat. 2015. Postcolonial Ghosts in New Turkish Cinema: A Deconstructive Politics of Memory in Dervis Zaim’s ‘The Cyprus Trilogy’. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Postcolonial intercommunal violence on Cyprus and its after-effects have been studied extensively in
the social sciences and humanities over the past five decades. However, the cinematic
representations of the postcolonial condition in Cyprus have not yet received significant critical
recognition. This dissertation is a response to the scarcity of scholarship on cinematic representations
of the postcolonial history of the island. By analysing cinematically recreated and visualised ghostly
matters of interethnic strife and post-conflict situation in Cyprus, I want to contribute to the current
debates on the politics of postcolonial memory in Cyprus. My discussion focuses specifically on a film
trilogy by the Turkish-Cypriot art house film director Dervis Zaim, ‘The Cyprus Trilogy’: Mud (Çamur,
2003), Parallel Trips (Paralel Yolculuklar/ Ta parállila monopátia [Τα παράλληλα μονοπάτια], codirected
with Panicos Chrysanthou, 2004), and Shadows and Faces (Gölgeler ve Suretler, 2011).
This trilogy is the most remarkable set of critical films about the partition of the island that have been
produced in post-Yesilçam Turkish film history. My analysis of Zaim’s film trilogy departs from the
assumption of the primacy of the phenomenological experiences of the postcolonial Cypriots over
geopolitical and macro-historical explanations. The reading of Dervis Zaim’s works about the
intercommunal civil wars in postcolonial Cyprus raises the question of the haunting/hauntedness.
Therefore, this Ph.D. thesis addresses hauntological themes such as disjointed time, memory,
historical justice, haunting, visor effect, voice, silence, ghost story, haunted house, haunted body, and
the absent other that appear persistently in the films. Throughout this thesis, the spatial/temporal,
vocal/narrative, and embodied/disembodied aspects of Zaim’s film trilogy are discussed, drawing
primarily upon a Derridean hauntology. Building a theoretical bridge between hauntology and
postcolonial cinema, the relationship between postcolonial memory, film, and haunting is examined in
the context of Cyprus. This thesis concludes by discussing the extent to which Dervis Zaim and his
spectral realist films have achieved the deconstruction of postcolonial memory through challenging
both the imperialist and nationalist structures imposed by dominant discourses.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


British colonial legacy, postcolonial history, postcolonial memory, the politics of memory, postcolonial film, historical film, Turkish Yesilçam cinema, new Turkish cinema, spectral realism, hauntology, ghost, specter, haunting, Cyprus, Turkish-Cypriots

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


30 November 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Dec 2015 12:33

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:36


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