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Pandora's Box

New York Premiere

Germany, France, Turkey, Belgium | 112 MINUTES | Turkish |


Drama, Female Director(s)
The latest from award-winning Turkish master Yesim Ustaoglu (Journey to the Sun) is a gorgeous, expertly developed cross-generational dramedy. Three adult siblings—Nesrin, Güzin, and Mehmet—lead modern, neurotic, and preoccupied lives in Istanbul. But when their aging mother Nusret starts showing signs of dementia, the dysfunctional children must navigate a minefield of unresolved issues to care for her. They take the aging matriarch (90-year-old French actress Tsilla Chelton) away from her home on the Black Sea—for her own good, they think—but hectic Istanbul is the last place Nusret would like to be. In fact, her final wish is to be left alone in the mountains surrounding her home.

The unlikeliest candidate for the Nusret's final companion is her aloof and introspective grandson Murat. He mysteriously understands her desires, and in return she allows him to guide her back to her serene village, with its lush and breathtaking views. A tale primarily exploring modernity versus tradition, the need for stuff versus the need for nature, Pandora's Box is a thoughtful, perfectly paced addition to Ustaoglu's impressive repertoire of films. For her poignant, career-capping performance, Chelton was named best actress at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, where the film also won top prize.

Co-presented by




Directed by Yesim Ustaoglu and Yesim Ustaoglu

Yesim Ustaoglu made several award-winning shorts in Turkey before making her feature debut with 1994's The Track. She received international recognition for her 1999 film Journey to the Sun, which received the Blue Angel Award for best European film and the Peace Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. The moving story of a courageous friendship undaunted by political cruelty swept the Istanbul International Film Festival by winning best film, best director, the FIPRESCI prize, and the Audience Award. Her follow-up Waiting for the Clouds was awarded the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award and the DAAD scholarship.
Primary Cast
Tsilla Chelton, Derya Alabora, Onur Unsal, Ovul Avkiran, Osman Sonant, Tayfun Bademsoy
Yesim Ustaoglu
Yesim Ustaoglu, Sema Kaygusuz
Yesim Ustaoglu, Muhammet Çakiral, Serkan Çakarer, Behrooz Hashemian, Setareh Farsi, Natacha Devillers, Catherine Burniaux, Michael Weber, Tobias Pausinger


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