Whore of a City, Feride Çiçekoğlu
Metis Nonfiction
Cinema Studies
13 x 19.5 cm, 184 pp
ISBN No. 978-975-342-606-0

1st Print: April 2007
Feride Çiçekoğlu
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About the Author
Feride Çiçekoğlu studied architecture at the Middle East Technical University (Ankara) and subsequently at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) where she obtained a PhD. Arrested after the 1980 military coup in Turkey, she was a political prisoner until 1984. She owes her first novel Uçurtmayı Vurmasınlar (Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite) to the stint in prison. Adapted by the author to screen, it won a number of awards, national and international, including the "Golden Orange" for best screenplay (Antalya, 1989) and "Prix du Public Rencontres Internationales" (Cannes, 1989). Among her other filmed scripts are Journey to Hope (Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, 1991) and Suyun Öte Yanı which she rewrote as a novella (The Other Side of the Water, 1992). Her short stories were translated into and published in several languages. She also has published articles on issues of representation in Turkish and English, in academic journals and edited books. From 1995 to 1999, she was the editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal Istanbul published by the History Foundation. In 2003 she published a bilingual book on New York-Istanbul. Çiçekoğlu lives and teaches in Istanbul. She is currently the director of the graduate program in Film-TV at Istanbul Bilgi University.
Feride Çiçekoğlu
Whore of a City
Women Streetwalking Istanbul

Vesikalı Şehir

Whore of a City: Women Streetwalking Istanbul is a survey on the representation of women and cities in films, highlighting female flânerie as a source of anxiety for the male gaze. The book investigates the gendered cartography of Turkish cinema focusing on films which feature Istanbul in different periods of modernization. The main theme of the research is inspired by the Turkish melodramas from the 1950’s and 1960’s. In these films, the “licensed” bar girls in Istanbul are similar to the cabaret singers of the Mexican cabareteras (cabaret films), “license” (vesika) in Turkish referring to the official way to trace and control prostitutes, the so-called “public women”. One of the most well-known of these melodramas, My Licenced Beloved (1968) has a protagonist named Sabiha whose image of streetwalking in the city and whose gaze at the spectator has claimed female subjectivity for downtown Istanbul. The provocative argument of the book, enthused by this female claim to the metropolis, points out that the cinematic reflections of public and private spaces become embodiments of the conflicting personas of women in male imagination. Although the original title is inspired by a Turkish film, the films discussed in the book are not confined to Turkey. Starting out with a theoretical background on the development of urban and cinematic spaces as the twin products of the metropolis, Feride Çiçekoğlu attends to a wide range of examples from world cinema –from Metropolis (1926) and Ninotchka (1939) to Dark City (1998) and Sin City (2005)– to show how the male point of view in these films splits female identity in two. She then discusses Turkish films in terms of the impact of social traumas such as the military coup of 1980 and finally shows how the beloved image of a motherly figure at home still confronts the seductive persona of the streetwalking femme fatale in recent films that cast Istanbul as the cinematic city. The book owes its eloquence to the screenwriting career of its author who successfully merges the intricacy of an academic text with the pleasures of watching a film by evoking a strong visual sense of the films she discusses.
In the Shuttle Bus
Dolmabahçe Clock Tower

Time of the City is Cinema
Rhythm of the City is Feminine
Lust of the City is Dangerous

A Provincial Student

Uncanny Woman / Uncanny City
“Rescuing” The Woman on the Threshold
A Subversive Film: Vesikalı Yarim (My Licensed Beloved)

Coup d’État and Suicide

Sister Prostitute, Our Lovely Neighbor
Prostitutes of the Global City
“Istanbul, You Whore!”

Elif Shafak, Zaman, 3 July 2006
“Few well-written books are products of both reason-analysis and conscience-intuition. Books written with reason are usually slightly lacking in conscience, and those written with conscience are slightly lacking in reason. However Feride Çiçekoğlu's book The Licensed City completely fills both scales. Çiçekoğlu offers an innovative reading of classics that we have grown up watching, films that have served as mirrors to our self-discovery. By showing us their previously unnoticed common elements, the book reveals a trajectory of our social history, as well as insight into the unyielding templates of gender relations... A book I strongly recommend.”

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