Set in the year 1963, the film revolves around two families, one Greek and the other Turkish, who live in a remote village in Cyprus. An attack by Greek policemen forces Salih, a Karagoz shadow play master, and his daughter Ruhsar to flee their home and take refuge in a village where their relative Veli lives.

Salih the Karagoz master gets lost on the way after he leaves the village for the city. Left behind, the daughter now has to live with uncle Veli. As the leader of the Turkish community in the village, Veli is well aware that the Turks, who are a minority group in the area, will be defeated and oppressed by the larger and more powerful Greek community in case a conflict breaks out. So, he tells his Greek neighbor Anna and other Greek people that the Turks want to keep violence out of the scene. This effort even leads to some sort of a “gentlemen’s agreement” with the Greek neighbors, where both sides agree not to attack one another in the village.

However, Veli and the young villagers find out by coincidence that Hristo, the son of Anna, is storing weapons in the village. The young Turks then try to arm themselves and secretly prepare against a possible Greek attack without saying Veli a word. However, the Greeks discover the weapon quest and shooting practices carried out by the Turks, and this discovery fans the flames of paranoia and mistrust between the two sides.

Director’s Note::
What would a man risk to avoid getting blood on his hands if he found himself and his family unwittingly surrounded by violence? What are the ways to protect innocence and remain human in a world dominated by violence? Set in the Cyprus of 1963, this story is inspired by a real-life incident that took place during the ethnic clashes between Turks and Greeks, and presents its own myths and belief in peace within an impressive visual and dramatic structure.



Written and Directed By:

Derviş Zaim


Oktay Odabaşı • Derviş Zaim, Yeşil Film • Marathon Film Ortaklığıyla


Ruhsar : Hazar Ergüçlü, Veli : Osman Alkaş, Anna : Popi Avraam, Cevdet : Settar Tanrıöğen, Ahmet : Buğra Gülsoy, Karagözcü Salih : Erol Refikoğlu, Hristo : Constantinos Gavriel, Thanasis : Pantelis Antonas, Dimitri : Ahmet Karabiber, Arif : Ekrem Yücelten,
Rıza : Cihan Tarıman, 1. Rum Polis : Thomas Nikodimou, 2. Rum Polis : Andreas Makris, Rum sivil : Nadi Güle

Executive Producer:

Sadık Ekinci

Associate Producer:

Marsel Kalvo

Production Manager:

Emre Oskay

Director Of Photography:

Emre Erkmen

Art Director:

Elif Taşçıoğlu


Marios Takoushis

Sound Design:

Kostas Varibopiotis

Location Sound:

Mustafa Bölükbaşı


Aylin Zoi Tinel

Costume Design:

Hüseyin Özinal

Production Coordinator:

Şevket Serkan Şen

Visual Effects Supervisor:

Kerem Kurdoğlu

Digital Project Management:

Volkan Duran

Assistant Director:

Utku Bildirgen


2:1.35 -anamorphic-




Trailers and Clips


If you wish, you can watch it by purchasing or renting on itunes.


Telesiyej, Shadows and Faces Scooped Awards ın Ankara, Taraf, March 30, 2011

A masterpiece, Shadows and Faces has been a significant step in the creation of our cinema. Like his other works, Zaim’s latest film also offers some kind of a creative expansion or a reconstruction. Shadows and Faces is a respectful film that views both sides from equal distance as it narrates the story of an absurd war created by third parties.

Mevlut Tezel, The Cyprus Issue and Plato, Sabah, March 7, 2011

It takes a master director like Derviş Zaim to narrate the story of the 1963 events, which led to the first major break between the Turks and Greeks, by using Plato’s allegory of cave… In his film, Zaim presents the shadows as the official history and the facts as imperfections of the humankind. The Karagöz-Hacivat play is also an unparalleled metaphor in this respect. The film actually presents an overview of the war that was started in the name of religion and ethnicity…. In addition to its philosophical implications, Shadows and Faces is also an impressive work in terms of acting, narration and cinematic language. The most successful film made to this day on the Cyprus issue is now coming to theatres. The main element that underlies the film’s success is its universal language that presents the dark side of the humankind

Aysu Basri Akter, Stealıng, Seızure, and Even Massacre: That’s What We Have Done. Yenidüzen, March 9, 2011

Shadows and Faces confronts us with the fact that we have to face our shadows on both sides of Cyprus. At the very moment we believe we have become invisible, the film faces us with our own shadows and calls us to question ourselves. My grandmother used to tell the story of the neighbour Maria who would put golifa pilau on the roof of the house at nights to keep the devil or demons away. This partly obscure story held a special place in my childhood. Maybe it was because I had no idea about who Maria was or what the devil looked like, or, if demons really came… I never met Maria. And there was never golifa on our roof. Thanks to this film, I finally met Maria.

Hasan Hastürer, I Thought as I Watched, Havadıs, March 6, 2011

The film plainly and perfectly deals with the events that took place in Cyprus in 1963 and the origin of the separation and conflict between the Greeks and Turks. If you want to get an understanding of how the Cyprus issue evolved and its relation to the Cypriots, I recommend you watch Derviş Zaim’s film.  Derviş Zaim is from Cyprus… He knows what the people there had gone through from first-hand observations.  He does not deal with official politics. As a recognized artist, he seems to have established an ethical line or ethical freedom.

Alin Taşçıyan, At What Part of the Cave We are?, Star, March 6, 2011

Set to create a distinctive cinematic language, the sophisticated director Derviş Zaim makes multilayered films by using traditional arts, myths and philosophy. In Shadows and Faces he once again becomes a witness to his time

Uğur Vardan, Radikal, Shattered is the Screen and In Ruins All Lie, March 11, 2011

Elegantly and intelligently narrated, the story unfolds smoothly without overly highlighting its messages, and before all, directing is exceptionally well. Cinematography and film score are also first class… Acting is brilliant, too.

Niyazi Kızılyürek, Radikal, “Derviş Zaim’s Shadows and Faces Calls us to a Confrontatıon”, December 21, 2010

Derviş Zaim invites us to see the “truth” with his latest film, which deals with the drama of the people living in the deceptive shadows of Plato’s cave.  This “truth”, however, is neither a metaphysical idea nor a hidden “essence”; it is nothing but the reality of the person that lives in illusions.  It is a state of humans. Sure, there may be other conditions (or truths). However, one has to go through a confrontation to reach them. We have to be brave enough to face with our dark sides. As Salih the Karagöz player says, “We will not be afraid of getting out of the cave if we find a balance between our minds, souls and ambitions.” During the conflict that started in December 1963 and continued throughout the year1964, the Cypriots were lost in the deceiving shadows of the cave, as they could not find such a balance. And they could not get out of that darkness since then.

Through beautiful images, perfect acting and a unique cinematic language, Derviş Zaim, brings light onto the dark side of the Island and confronts us with our history. As the cast includes Greek and Turkish artists from Cyprus, Shadows and Faces seems to have started the process of confrontation at its production stage

Telesiyej, Taraf, A Masterpıece: Derviş Zaim’s Shadows and Faces, March 9, 2011

I believe that Derviş Zaim’s latest film Shadows and Faces is an important step in forming the cinema of our society. Like his other works, Zaim’s latest film is also some kind of a creative expansion or a reconstruction.

Incorporating the authentic elements of the past into today’s culture, liberating the feelings and the language are key components of Derviş Zaim’s cinema.

Shadows and Faces is a film that is respectful to humanity!…

The Karagöz screen at the centre of the film is not a cinematographic fantasy. It is almost an ontological necessity of Derviş Zaim cinema; it is an element of meta-language or a productive motif just like the art of ebru, miniature or calligraphy used in the other works of the director.

The film’s message is that, -despite all the difficulties- the alienated person, who is ideologically forced to live in the shadows instead of reality, has to make every effort to get behind the curtain and find the actual realities. (Let us remember for a while the shadows in Plato’s Cave and the ones who watch them.)

One either remains surrounded by shadows or carries the load of the truth on her back.

Staying in between like the Karagöz player is actually impossible!…

Through the cinema screen, Derviş Zaim aims to show the audience the original owners of the shadows and faces, and the truth of the events.

..I believe that Shadows and Faces is a highly important film of these lands.

It is in fact a masterpiece.

It is also an early mature work of Derviş Zaim’s cinema.

In this film, the director creates an original and flowing cinematic language.

Cenk Mutluyakalı, A Confrontation wıth the Cyprus Issue as the Shadows Grow wıth Each Passıng Day, Yenidüzen, March 6, 2011

With its scenes and sequences, Derviş Zaim’s new film once again reflects the mastery of the director … The transition from photographs to life appears in such a beautiful form that the viewers cannot take their eyes of the film, moving from a feeling of peace to that of tension. The simple yet profound story –our story- is wonderfully narrated.  Shadows and Faces is in fact a confrontation.  It confronts us with our anger, with our feelings of insecurity and with the way how the good part in us transforms into wickedness… It is a fair, well-balanced film on our history.

Sibel Oral, Taraf, Shadows Grow wıthın Our Hearts, March 11, 2011

Shadows and Faces is regarded to be the final part of Derviş Zaim’s trilogy on Turkish arts that began with Waiting for Heaven and continued with Dot.  However, I believe that it is much more than that. You all know that we are awfully unproductive in terms of confronting with our recent past through works of literature and cinema. So, we get even more sensitive each time a new work appears. Respecting this sensitivity, Zaim has made a well-balanced film that deals with the lives of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus.  Kanstantin Gavriel, the Greek actress we have interviewed in Cyprus said, “We did many bad things to Turks in 1963”. Popi Avraam, the Greek actor featuring in the film, who could not find a job for five years because of supporting the Annan plan for Cyprus in 2003, also thinks that the film is a fair work…. Derviş Zaim’s Shadows and Faces takes a look at the concepts of kindness, wickedness and most important of all, conscience. An interesting point to be noted is that in both sides the main characters are women (Anna and Ruhsar) who do not take an active role in the war struggle. Some think that the majority of the Greek side will not be fond of the film. That may be true, but we have to say once more that the film is an unbiased work. Derviş Zaim has created a perfect work in a way nobody ever tried before. That which is full of growing shadows is our own history…

Tuba Deniz, Zaman, Do not Get Deceıved ın the Shadows and Seek the Truth, March 11, 2011

Shadows and Faces is narrated in a more simple style compared to other works by Derviş Zaim. In his latest film, the director manages to present the political tension of the period through the human relations in a small village. The film shows how feelings of suspicion and hate develop in people who actually have no problem with one another, and how they easily turn into enemies in a very short period of time. Viewing both sides from equal distance is one of the most significant accomplishments of the film. The Turks and Greeks in the film almost mirror one another, each having a counterpart on the other side. For instance, Anna’s son Hristo and Veli’s son react in similar ways. Both see the other side as a threat and for them, the best solution is to let the guns speak. Anna’s good intentions and Veli’s reconciliatory manner form a balance. Same can also be said regarding the herdsmen in the village.

For Zaim, creating a comprehensible work is as critical as the aesthetic value and content of the film. For this reason he has been generous in his use of music. And the script is rich in sophisticated details and symbolic references…

Behind traditional arts, there lies an important background of Sufism. Derviş Zaim uses these arts to create an original cinematic language nourished by the culture. This endeavour, which primarily concentrates on the form, is also in line with the director’s primary concerns, such as truth, conscience, justice, values and ethics.

Sungu Çapan, Cumhuriyet, A Shadow Play ın Cyprus, March 11, 2011

In presenting the long-time drama of Cyprus through a realistic approach that takes into account the realities and perspectives of both sides, Zaim highlights the necessity of communication by using the metaphor of the Karagöz play, a tradition of both societies, and makes us move behind the shadows that prevailed the scene during years of dialogue-less atmosphere of hate.

Sami Ozuslu, Yenidüzen, Shadows and Faces and the Deceased, March 7, 2011

Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine, Bosnia, Iran, India … They are all different in terms of their geography, culture, social structure and history. Yet they have similar “shadows” and “faces” …. Derviş Zaim’s film Shadows and Faces is not only about Cyprus. It presents the universal “shadows” and “faces” of ethnic/religious conflicts that continue to be lived in numerous countries, mentioned or unmentioned above. It is the drama of the people who have been turned into “Others” for whatever reason… In his film, Derviş Zaim shows how friendship, the motivation to coexist and the feeling of love turn into hate and the urge to kill. Right, the film is about Cyprus, but it is also about Bosnia.

Sevgül Uludağ, Yenidüzen, Shadows and Faces, 08.03.11

With the events it depicts, the film brings together the stories that I have been dealing with for a long time in my research studies and writings. All the events are based on true stories that somehow took place in one village or another… Shadows and Faces is an extraordinary film.  While watching the film, I could not help crying and after it was over, it took me a while to get back to a peaceful state of mind… Derviş Zaim opens up a window and presents a magnificent film that confronts us with the past. He reflects all that we have gone through, and manages to do this in the most peaceful way possible. He wants us to turn back to ourselves to ask: What is left of the Karagöz-Hacivat plays that were performed for years on these lands? How a small stone led to an enormous fire? Will we ever be able to free ourselves from the shadow play that fear has entrapped us into and identify with our real faces? We will be the ones to decide what to make of the film; will we use it for “peace” or for “revenge”? That is up to us… I recommend you go and watch this film which reveals a significant part of our painful history. Shadows and Faces is a film in which we find ourselves.

Zahit Atam, Birgün, Majorıty was Dısregarded by the Mınıstry and Shadows and Face by the Jury, September 17, 2010

In his film, Zaim once again offers an interpretation by using traditional arts.  Here, Karagöz becomes an element revealing the interpretation of the film and its social and political stand.  The film offers an interpretation on how the two communities, who were not the owners but only the residents of the Island, were dragged into violence and anger. In terms of form, the film has a modernist approach, but it also uses traditional elements in its narrative. Film’s cinematography, acting, narrative and narration reveal the mature period of the director, Derviş Zaim.

Melih Aşık, Milliyet, Open Window - Zaim, October, 10, 2010

Zaim has brought to big screen the destructive war between two communities, in a way similar to Dido Sotiriou’s novel “Tell my Greetings to Anatolia”. Congratulations to Derviş Zaim (Nazım Alpman).

Devrim Büyükacaroğlu, Forgıveness comes from Rememberıng, Evrensel, March 13, 2011

Last weekend two semi-galas were held in Cyprus for Derviş Zaim’s latest film Shadows and Faces. One was in Nicosia and the other in Green Line, the border that separates the two communities. I have seen the Greek and the Turkish members of the audience shedding the same tears. And those tears were more real than a peace treaty of thousands of pages. The film is recommended to all who are interested not only in the shadows of Cyprus, but also in those of Palestine, Bosnia and Ireland.

Ömür Gedik, The Dark Years of Cyprus, Hürriyet Keyif, March 13, 2011

In Shadows and Faces, which can be regarded as the most mature work of the director, Zaim once again succeeds in acting as an objective documentarist as he narrates the story and hard times of the Island that was ignored by the Turkish cinema for a long time.

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