A Lover of Turkey: Suha Arin

Reha Arin, Nesli Çolgeçen, Kemal Sevimli and Hasan Ozgen

Murat Beser, Cumhuriyet – 03.01.2010

One of the veteran names of documentary cinema Suha Arin was commemorated at the ‘Respect to the Masters’ meetings on the sixth anniversary of his death.

The remembrance ceremony took place at the Akatlar Melih Cevdet Anday Stage with a presentation of portraits of the famous director. Speeches were given by many who knew him personally including relatives, work colleagues and former students, revealing the how much Arin’s work strengthened his love for Turkey.

Professor Nermin Abadan spoke at length of Arin’s will power and grace. Arin’s accomplishments were all his own hard work and making, never ceasing to meet the challenges presented. What was exceptional about Arin, was that he was a visual cultural historian.

Professor Aysel Aziz stated that Arin had outstanding dialogue with his students. It is rumoured that at the end of the month Arin would give a two-thirds of his wage to the office boy who would bring tea to the students visiting Arin’s office. Beyond ambition, Arin’s particular strength was that he was both productive and instructive. Arin would describe his work as consisting of "blood, sweat and tears."

For student Nurçay Türkoğlu, Arin was akin to the thinkers of the enlightenment with his proactive approach to cultural heritage and documentary filmmaking.

The speakers sat in a semi circle formation and were both comic and sensitive in their delivery. Among them were the likes of Nesli Colgecen, Kemal Sevimli and Hasan Ozgen who were some of the first students of Arin. The common line throughout the speeches was the understanding that the works are not simple films but cultural treasures in their own right.

Arin throughout his career strove to teach everything he knew to his students. The only thing he was not capable of teaching them was also something he lacked: the ability to boast. All the speakers of the night did not boast about themselves once, which indicates just how strong of a friend and student of Arin they were.

‘Respect to the Masters’ meetings were arranged jointly by the Beşiktas Municipality and Faruk Suyun. The master of ceremony for the night was Arin’s brother Reha Arin. Musical accompaniment was provided by Eren Arin on the piano and Ayca Ergin Arin on the reed flute. Other speakers, to name but a few, included the likes of Berrin Avci Colgecen who has written a book on Suha Arin, director Hakan Aytekin and Professer Suphi Saatci who aided in the historical research of many projects.

The night came to a close of this wonderful man who was remembered not only for his art but also for his character and humane behaviour as a documentary filmmaker and academic.