Clair obscur is a film about the unlikely encounter of two women otherwise separated by class, education, and location. Elmas has little formal education and lives in a provincial town with her husband and mother-in-law. Şehnaz is a highly educated urbanite living with her boyfriend in Istanbul and commuting to a provincial hospital to complete her mandatory medical residency as a psychiatrist. Their lives unexpectedly intersect at the hospital when Elmas is placed under Şehnaz’s care as a catatonic patient and criminal suspect. Elmas’s husband and mother-in-law died under vague circumstances on the same stormy night. The prominent film writer and director Yeşim Ustaoğlu uses this encounter to stage a panorama of femininities in Turkey. In times of reactionary gender conservatism and violent quests for masculinist restoration, Clair obscur explores feminist issues like domestic violence, marital rape, the...

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