The transnational film flows in Turkey during World War II: An entangled historical perspective of exhibition programs of Istanbul and Adana cinema venues

Şanlıer Yüksel Ö. İ., Çam A.

HoMER 2022 Annual Conference, Rome, Italy, 4 - 09 July 2022, vol.1, pp.40-41

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Rome
  • Country: Italy
  • Page Numbers: pp.40-41
  • Çukurova University Affiliated: Yes


Film flows and distribution during and immediately after WWII attracted the attention of many researchers (i.e. Vanda Winke, 2017; van Oort et al., 2020). Mingled in social, economic, and political dynamics, the cinema industry in neutral countries used strategies to get rid of the bottleneck it entered during the war. These production and distribution strategies varied in different localities transcending nation-state borders. Unfortunately, the number of studies on the distribution and production of films related to this period and the war in Turkey is very few (Özuyar, 2011). More importantly, these few studies fall behind in revealing entangled history (Biltereyst, 2021), especially in the context of cross-border relationships. In this context, we look at transnational film supply and demand patterns in the Çukurova region in general and the city of Adana specifically. Based on an analysis of archival documents and newspaper archives and following the new cinema history paradigm, we aim to lay out a picture of the film flow in the Çukurova region during WWII and just after the war. Our preliminary findings reveal that until WWII, when national film production was very limited in Turkey, films of European countries were shown not only in Istanbul but also almost everywhere in Anatolia (Scognamillo, 1991). Even though the import of films from Europe stopped completely during the war, German films continued to be shown in Istanbul due to the covert cooperation between Turkey and Germany (Özuyar, 2011). However, while the flow of British and American films from allied countries such as Egypt and India to Turkey continued, Egyptian and Indian films were frequently shown in Adana. We argue that there is a slight difference in film exhibition between İstanbul and Adana that helps us to examine the approach that sees the nation-state as a unit of analysis may not be valid, whereas that entangled history has more capacity to explain some practices in specific localities, since Adana is in close proximity and in organic relation with the Middle East.


Biltereyst, D. (2021). For an entangled cinema history: Borderland reflections on cinema, connections and spatial frames, invited keynote. Presented at the lecture New Directions in Turkish Cinema Studies XXI, Cinema, Marginal, Minor, and Local, 21-22 October 2021, Adana.

Özuyar, A. (2011). Faşizmin Etkisinde Türkiye'de Sinema (1939-1945). Doruk Yayınları.

Scognamillo, G. (1991). Cadde-i Kebir’de Sinema. Metis Yayınları.

van Oort, T., Jernudd, Å., Lotze, K., Pafort-Overduin, C., Biltereyst, D., Boter, J., Dibeltulo, S., Ercole, P., Meers, P., Porubcanska, T., Gennari, D. T., & Van de Vijver, L. (2020). Mapping Film Programming across Post-War Europe (1952), Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(2), p. 109-125.

Vande Winkel, R. (2017). Film Distribution in Occupied Belgium (1940-1944). German film 40 politics and its implementation by the ‘corporate’ organisations and the Film Guild, Journal for Media History - Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 20 (1), p. 46-78.