Wednesday, August 04, 2004

SEPET - notes from the writer/director

“You don’t have to understand people to love them.”

I set myself the task of imparting this feeling in “Sepet”, even before I typed the first word of the script.

When I was a little girl, my father had a thing about a gramophone record of Connie Francis singing Italian love songs. He would play it over and over, until I could sing “O Sole Mio” with great feeling, without understanding a word of what I was singing.

Much later, I read a confession the Irish poet W.B.Yeats made concerning the feelings he had about “Gitanjali”, the Nobel Prize winning book of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, translated into English from the original Bengali. According to Yeats, he would carry “Gitanjali” with him wherever he went, occasionally lowering his head when his tears flowed from reading a particularly moving phrase, for fear of being found out by the people around him.

And so, “Sepet”. A story about two young people in love, who come from totally different family and social backgrounds.

It’s important to note here that the last thing I wanted was to make the central crisis in “Sepet” a racial one. I have never believed that race was ever a real issue when people hated one another. I have always found, without fail, that racism was just surface stuff. When I scratched that surface and went just a little deeper, I invariably found that that prejudice was rooted in more basic human weaknesses like Fear or Greed.

I also wanted “Sepet” to be about first love. First love has always fascinated me because it happens to you at a time when you have not yet learned to lie to yourself. With first love, within five minutes, you accept the other person for everything that they are, warts and all. I believe that our first love is the truest love of all. Unfortunately, most people I know do not even believe there is such a thing as “true love”. They remind me of the last words in a poem by Wislawa Szymborska.

“Let the people who never find true love believe that there is no such thing. Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.”