Private Project

The Mute

Sami makes a living as a mural painter. One day, he learns that his grandmother left him a small chest full of calligraphy materials. At first, Sami rather dismisses the contents of the chest. But then he meets Selma at the library where he has been commissioned to do a mural, and the introduction marks a turning point for him. With her guidance and encouragement, Sami embarks on learning the practice of calligraphy. He is helped in his endeavours by Eşref Efendi, a gifted but demanding old-generation calligrapher. The master is quick to steer Sami towards love. For Sami, who finds himself caught between Selma and Eşref, the practice of calligraphy becomes a challenging journey in which he is forced to confront his memory.

  • Murat Pay
  • Selman Kılıçaslan
  • Murat Pay
  • İsmail Murat Erdağı
  • Ozan Çelik
    Key Cast
  • Mim Kemal Öke
    Key Cast
  • Vildan Atasever
    Key Cast
  • Emin Gürsoy
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 34 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Sarajevo
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    August 17, 2019
    World Premire
    Competition Programme – Out of Competition, Gala Screening
  • İstanbul
    October 23, 2019
    National premiere
    Best Photografy
Director Biography - Murat Pay

Murat Pay graduated from the Radio, Television & Cinema Department of Marmara University in 2003. In 2012, he earned a postgraduate degree from the Islamic History & Arts Department of the Faculty of Theology at Marmara University, writing his thesis on ‘Karagöz Shadow Plays and Cinema’. His first job combining the theory and practice of film was at the Science & Arts Foundation in Istanbul, where he has been leading workshops since 2005. He has written on film for the magazines, Hayal Perdesi and Anlayış. From 2012-2014, he continued his film career at Semih Kaplanoğlu’s Kaplan Film. And since 2014, he has been working at Rasathane Film.

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Director Statement

It all began with the intention to make a documentary film about calligraphy. I had envisaged a project that would be relatively straightforward to carry through. It did not, however, work out that way. And so, I began to learn the practice of calligraphy myself in order both to gain a personal understanding of the art form and to sustain the documentary flavour of the film. I plunged through the surface into the esoteric ocean of calligraphy at the knees of my much-esteemed master, the calligrapher, Cavide Pala. The nature of this ocean was such that the story of a rare, centuries-old culture could find meaning within a single ‘dot’. And this ‘dot’ embraced not only literature and poetry, but also architecture and music. Yes, all the various strands of culture coalesced into an ecstatic ensemble in calligraphy. My sense of admiration grew all the more.
I read all the source material I could find on calligraphy and spoke with leading figures in the field. At the end of the day, my research pointed me in the direction of a fictional narrative rather than a documentary.
I focused on a story that takes place in the present day, but references the age-old heritage of calligraphy. The story of a master striving to keep the classical heritage alive and a student eager to journey into his memory... During the writing process, which took the best part of a year, I incorporated my own experience of learning the practice, while at the same time reminding myself constantly of the need to make a film that I could answer for.
I hope that this project will provide a modest introduction to calligraphy as a great and rich art form in its own right.
‘If you wish to write with a beautiful hand and to earn rank and esteem among the public, choose three things and trust in them, for they will assist in the beauty of fine writing. The first of the three is ink, the second sturdy paper, and the third a reed pen. If these three things are combined, the eyes will light up and a sense of satisfaction arise. However, in addition to obtaining these three things, you need a master to point out the individuality of the characters and help acquaint you with them; for working on your own initiative without a master goes beyond madness due to paucity of wisdom.’ (Nefeszade İbrahim, Gülzar-ı Savab)