DER Documentary

Coffee Futures (Neyse halim çiksin falim)

launch preview watch a preview

by Zeynep Devrim Gürsel
color, 22 min, 2009
In Turkish, with English or French subtitles

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

Coffee Futures weaves individual fortunes with the story of Turkey's decades-long attempts to become a member of the European Union. Promises and predictions made by politicians, both foreign and domestic, are juxtaposed with the rhetorics and practices of coffee fortune telling.

The widespread custom of coffee fortune telling in Turkey is an everyday communication tool. Coffee fortunes are a way of dealing with hopes, fears and worries, as well as a method of indirectly voicing matters usually left unspoken. Like any language, this narrative form has its protocols, rules and tropes; yet each fortune bears distinct marks of the teller's personal style and the individual fortune seeker's condition.

Thus, the filmmaker sets out to seek her fortune and flip her cup for a couple dozen people, both friends and strangers. These amateur fortune tellers all read her individual fortune as they might any other day, except that she also asks for their opinions on the future of Turkey and Europe.

July 31, 2009 marked the 50th year anniversary of Turkey's application to apply to the elusive European Union (maiden name: European Economic Community). On this seemingly endless path, Turkey's future is continually invoked and described, yet not quite within reach. Touching upon the psychology of collective waiting and anticipating a national future, Coffee Futures attempts to render the emotional texture of a society whose fate has been nationally and internationally debated - often in relation to its "Europeanness" - for a long, long time.

“Perhaps one way to cope with the never-ending European torture is to start enjoying it. Zeynep Gürsel's film is a big step in that direction. I never thought the EU process could be so funny! ” — Haluk Sahin Director, Department of Television News and Programming, Istanbul Bilgi University, Columnist, Radikal newspaper
“With wonderful subtlety and grace Zeynep Gürsel employs the traditional narrative of coffee-grounds reading to talk about the future of Turkey vis-à-vis the European Union. What is even more central to Coffee Futures is the bricolage of types, a broad canvas of Turkish citizens all united by the same custom, telling the future through their particular emotional and social approach. This is a timely, provocative and artful project. ” — Karen Barkey Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Coffee Futures is a delightful, engaging and brilliant short film about Turkey's ambivalent relationship with the European Union. Along the way, filmmaker and anthropologist Zeynep Gürsel introduces us to everyday Turkish culture and society. Gürsel deftly weaves together parallel narratives about personal fortunes in love and marriage and the future of Turkish-EU relations. This film is sure to both amuse and enlighten students about the problematic 'courtship' between Turkey and the EU. ” — Melani Cammett Associate Professor of Political Science, Brown University
“This is a small but beautiful film - a highlight of the festival.” — Daniel Fisher, "Review of the Film Program at the Annual Meeting of the Australian Anthropological Society, December 9-11, 2009", Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 27, Issue 1

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Neighboring Nations Award, Cairo Documentary Festival, 2011
Best Documentary Short, MiradasDoc Festival, Spain, 2010
Audience Award - Short Film, IF Istanbul Independent Film Festival, 2010
EurActiv Award for Debating Europe Nationally, Special Jury Award for Originality, Brussels, 2009
Audience Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival, MI, 2010
Intimate Lens Ethnographic Film Festival, Italy, 2013
Festival of Visual Anthropology ASPEKTY, Poland, 2012
SVA Ethnographic Film Festival, USA, 2012
32nd Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) Film Festival, Norway, 2012
9th International Film Festival - The Heart of Slavonia, Croatia, 2012
South East European Film Festival, USA, 2012
Addis International Film Festival, 2011
A Film For Peace Festival, 2011
Athens, Ohio International Film Festival, 2011
Days of Ethnographic Cinema, 2011
Durango Independent Film Festival, Colorado, 2010
Filmmor Women's Film Festival, Turkey, 2010
Free Range Film Festival, 2010
show more

Related Resources
Press Kit (PDF)

Related Links
Review by Jack David Eller on Anthropology Review Database
Review: "What is Left for Anthropology to Say about Europe?" from Anthropology News, March 2011
Review by Carol Delaney, from American Anthropologist, September 2011
Review by Alexandra Bakalaki, from Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 27, Issue 1

View more photos on

Related Films
Plastic Flowers Never Die
"It's A Young Country": Turkey and Akbank
Asmara, Eritrea
Mount Nemrud: The Throne of the Gods
Black Harvest

Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
Join Our Mailing List
Suport DER
Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts