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Young people, laments, intonings, swelling sound and a camera discreetly doing its work: Fikret Atay’s "Theorists" is a keen look at religious education, following the daily lessons in a Turkish school and the learning process that goes with them: singing loudly as you walk around. The pupils pay no heed to the rhythm of their neighbours: each in his own little world, they are locked into a spookily mysterious cacophony. In Theorists, Atay underscores the effects of this combination of rigid teaching methods and a narrow curriculum. Learning and knowledge, movement and physical activity – all eloquently captured here with no commentary whatsoever – convey the problematic relationship the system sets up between the individual and the group. Alone in the crowd and filmed with absolute simplicity, these pupils remind us of how close teaching can be to coercion.

With the support of the Turkish Season in France (july 2009-march 2010).

Fikret ATAY
Theorists, 2007
Photos: Blaise Adilon
photo 16/81
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