This essay focuses on the narratives and agencies of two women in the early period of cinema in the Ottoman/Turkish lands. One of these narratives is representational and based on fiction, while the other is based on first-person experience. One of these two women is the first woman film producer and assistant director, namely Sabahat Filmer, while the other is the main character of the only surviving silent film for which Sabahat Filmer worked. Entitled Binnaz, named after its leading character, this film is said to feature the first “femme-fatale” of Turkish cinema. An important overlap of these two women is that both appeared in the Istanbul film industry in 1919. The value of Binnaz for this article lies not only in the fact that it is among the first feature-length films in Sabahat Filmer’s filmography. Binnaz is also invaluable because it is the only available silent fiction film about women in Turkish film history to date.
early cinema, feminism, new film history, silent cinema, women’s cinema