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Ozpetek, Ferzan (b. 1959)  
page: 1  2  

In His Secret Life, after her husband is killed by being run over by a car, Antonia starts investigating his many secrets. The upper-class widow's ordered and conventional life is turned on its head when she discovers her late husband's long-term relationship with a working-class man, Michele. After an initial mutual suspicion, Antonia is soon included in Michele's circle of friends, an experience that eventually empowers and emancipates her.

Described as Ozpetek's most complex and affecting work, Facing Windows focuses on the friendship between Giovanna, a working-class mother in an increasingly unhappy marriage who enjoys a secretly-reciprocated love for her handsome neighbor, and an elderly man suffering from amnesia who can only recall apparently inconsequential events of his youth under Fascism. As the character's mysterious past and his passionate love affair with another man emerge, it becomes clear that the choices that Giovanna has to make in the present closely parallel those made by him sixty years earlier.

Saturn in Opposition returns to an entirely contemporaneous setting to explore the relationships within a closely-knit, yet extremely heterogeneous, circle of friends centering on a gay couple, Lorenzo and Davide. When Lorenzo suddenly enters a coma and dies, the group has to come to terms with the void left by his death.

The success of these films, all of which won prestigious awards, established Ozpetek as a leading Italian director.

The disappointing Sacred Heart (Cuore sacro, 2005), focused on a woman who renounces a corporate career to care for the poor, and the noir A Perfect Day (Un giorno perfetto, 2008), which is Ozpetek's first film not based on his original story idea, represent a partial departure from the director's other films. While they continue to investigate divergent social realities, they do not contain significant gay subplots.

However, the director's most recent film Loose Cannons (Mine vaganti, 2010), which received a Special Jury Mention at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, returns to homosexuality as a major force behind its narrative. The film is set not in Rome but in the provincial Southern Italian town of Lecce and adopts a more farcical tone than Ozpetek's previous films.

A chain of misunderstandings is set in motion when the Cantones' younger son Tommaso returns to visit his conformist family, where he intends to announce his desire to study literature and to come out as gay. However, he is preempted by his older brother Antonio, who announces his own homosexuality and thereby throws the family into disarray. Caught in the middle of this family crisis, Tommaso has no choice but to continue pretending.

Ozpetek displays considerable skills in scripting and directing multifaceted films whose characters, although numerous, are fully explored in their different identities. Ozpetek's gay characters, in particular, come from all walks of life and contribute to the visibility of homosexuality in all Italian social, cultural, and geographical contexts.

Ozpetek's films have been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in 2008 and at UCLA in 2010. In 2008, the director was presented a medal of merit by the President of Italy for his contributions to friendly relations and communication between Turkey and Italy.

Luca Prono

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Since the 1960s, European film has included significant gay-themed films, many of them directed by openly gay and lesbian directors.

arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Film Directors

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual film directors have been a vital creative presence in cinema since the medium's inception over one hundred years ago.

arts >> Overview:  Film Noir

Queer characters were a crucial component of the film noir landscape, part of the genre's challenge to complacent American values.

social sciences >> Overview:  Italy

Although it is a founding member of the European Union, Italy lags beyond other member states in the protections and respect it accords to glbtq citizens, especially gay and lesbian couples.

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

social sciences >> Overview:  Turkey

Although homosexuality has figured prominently in Turkish history and literature, in modern Turkey the status of homosexuality and of glbtq communities are insecure at best.


Ozpetek, Ferzan. Official website:

Stein, Elliott. "Facing Ferzan Ozpetek, at MOMA: Maverick Turkish Auteur Gets (Over)due Retrospective." Village Voice (December 3, 2008):

"Turkish Film Director Decorated with a Medal of Merit by Italy." Today's Zaman (October 26, 2008):


    Citation Information
    Author: Prono, Luca  
    Entry Title: Ozpetek, Ferzan  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2011  
    Date Last Updated December 31, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2011 glbtq, Inc.  


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