Istanbul’s Beykoz Kundura, a former Istanbul shoe factory-turned cultural venue, has been hosting A Midsummer's Night Festival, which has been one of the most sought-after events in Istanbul during summer since 2017. The sixth edition of the festival will take place on June 29 and Aug. 14 this year with a program inspired by the harmonic unity of films and scores.
The festival program focuses on American composer and music producer Henry Mancini, who is the creator of many unforgettable soundtracks and won four Oscars and 20 Grammys throughout his career. Four classic films, scored by Mancini and directed by Blake Edwards, meet with the audience for the first time in Turkey with their restored copies at Beykoz Kundura as part of the A Midsummer's Night Festival.
“The Pink Panther” (1963) and “A Shot in the Dark” (1964), the initial two films in the famous “Pink Panther” series, are the first films to be screened at the festival. The romantic masterpiece "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), which is also remembered with Audrey Hepburn's iconic performance, and the crazy comedy "The Party" (1968) can be watched in the last week of the festival, as well.
Mancini, one of the most versatile artists in contemporary music, is remembered with great motion pictures and television music along with international performances. Creating many of the greatest film scores, Mancini also recorded more than 90 albums with a wide range of styles, including jazz, classical music and pop.
Introduced to the flute by his flutist father at the age of 8, Mancini later took up the piano and became interested in arranging. He joined The Glenn Miller – Tex Beneke Orchestra as a pianist and arranger in 1946 and the Universal-International Studios music department in 1952. In this studio, he contributed to more than 100 films, and in 1958, he started to work as an independent composer-arranger.
Mancini was also an in-demand performer of concerts. Among the orchestras he conducted is the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also wrote two books: "Sounds and Scores - A Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration," and his autobiography entitled "Did They Mention The Music?".
Mancini died in 1994, and his wife and children survived him. He was given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
“The Pink Panther” and “A Shot in the Dark,” one of the most well-known of Mancini and Edwards' collaborations, are among the films to be screened at the festival. "The Pink Panther" will be shown on July 29 and “A Shot in the Dark” will meet spectators on July 30.
"The Pink Panther" depicts the funny incidents of the clumsy Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played by Peter Sellers with his magnificent performance, while trying to catch the famous thief Phantom, who is intent on stealing the Pink Panther diamond. The movie is also unforgettable with the Pink Panther cartoon that appears for the first time in credits and Mancini's famous theme music. In “A Shot in the Dark,” the second film of the series and the most loved one by the fans, we follow the absurd events that happened to Clouseau, who is investigating the murder of one of the leading figures of Parisian society. The movie, which contains many classic scenes, especially the opening sequence, offers a crazy type of fun with the support of Mancini's frivolous music.
The first big success of the Mancini and Edwards partnership, the 1961 classic, "Breakfast at Tiffany's," is one of the masterpieces of the romantic comedy genre. Adapted from the short novel of the same name by Truman Capote, the film will be screened on Aug. 12. The cult production is about the life of Holly, who tries to class up by becoming a "party girl" in New York society, when she falls in love with the young writer who moves to her apartment. The film, which has been engraved in memories with Audrey Hepburn's iconic character and performance, is a true classic that has not lost its shine for 61 years with its Oscar and Grammy award-winning music by Mancini and the Oscar-winning legendary song "Moon River," for which Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics.
"The Party," which is the first and only movie to bring the Edwards, Mancini and Sellers trio together without the "Pink Panther," introduces the audience to the Bollywood actor Hrundi V. Bakshi, who is as clumsy as Clouseau. Hrundi, who finally manages to act in a movie in Hollywood, where he came to try his luck, is accidentally invited to the party of the producer of the movie, from which he was fired for blowing up the set, and turns the party upside down. The film, which Edwards pays homage to the silent cinema era and is considered one of the pinnacles of slapstick comedy, is considered one of the best comedies of all time. The movie will meet spectators on Aug. 13.
As part of the festival, "People on Sunday,” co-directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, will be screened to the accompaniment of Icelandic electronic and experimental pop band Múm’s live performance. The movie is the story of how ordinary people celebrate life on an ordinary Sunday in late 1920s Berlin. Preceding the Great Depression and shot in summer of 1929 before the Nazi Rule tarnished daily life, the film is about five teenagers crossing paths on a Sunday and their journey to the countryside.
"People on Sunday” is a unique experiment in juxtaposition of documentary and narrative film, as well as of the anonymous and the personal. Shot with nonactors on a shoestring budget and attained unexpected success upon its release in 1930, the film can be considered a hybrid of Dziga Vertov’s “Man with the Movie Camera” and Walter Ruttmann’s “Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.”
Tickets for a limited number for A Midsummer's Night Festival can be purchased on Beykozkundura.com.