chapter  9
13 Pages

Istanbul Convertible: A Magic Carpet Ride through Genres

WithDeniz Bayrakdar, Elif Akçalı

The film Magic Carpet Ride (Organize úüler, literally ‘Organized Business’), a hit at the Turkish box-office in 2005, effectively fulfils the ride promised in its English title:1 out of approximately thirty scenes, thirteen are composed of helicam shots, showing Istanbul from the air. Nearly ten minutes of the total film are devoted to aerial vision. The camera flies over the Bosphorus from almost every possible angle; it zooms in and out of the historical peninsula, the city centre and the new suburbs, producing spectacular images. Istanbul was never photographed like this, seen from extreme high angles in sunlight and at night. These shots link the various layers of the film. They serve as an invisible eye (I) that rides between different levels of the city, as Aladdin on his magic carpet. This omniscient eye is ours; throughout the film it enables the spectator to master the city of Istanbul and access connections beneath the surface. On these long flights over the city, the cinematography lends the spectator authority. Along with the visual excesses of the helicam shots, the soundtrack, featuring pop icons Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Hüsnü ûenlendirici, Laço Tayfa and Nil Karaibrahimgil, adds a selfreflexive quality to the viewing experience. Brooklyn Funk Essentials’ ‘Magic Karpet Ride’ used over these aerial shots in the film’s opening credits introduces the spectator to the ride: ‘We have the ticket for a magic carpet ride, non-stop to the other side’ (figure 9.1). This flight over the Bosphorus into the city centre is repeated in reverse order in the final sequence, as the camera rises up, flying from the city centre towards the Golden Horn and to the outer spaces of the Marmara Sea with a view of the Prince Islands, like a simulation of Superman in flight. In the theme song ‘Organized Business’ (Organize úüler), which underscores the final shots of the film, singer Nil Karaibrahimgil confesses that she can be neither inside nor outside this ‘organized business’ that ‘commits a crime’ against Istanbul; she can neither fly nor escape; she is neither Clark Kent nor Superman.