2020 Amity Honorary Award
THE MAN WHO MAKES PHOTOS SPEAK
He has always been presented as the sound recordist or the sound engineer. We have never set eyes on him or been acquainted with him, but he always stayed as a familiar name in our memory. For years, he spoke to us from the darkness of dream castles with the voices of others… While we enjoyed beautifully spoken Turkish and listened to a song from sweet-voiced singers, he could never leave his small room. Sometimes, he searched for the image of a voice inside the dark dubbing halls and sometimes the voice of an image… While we dream, he kept dealing with real sounds. The cinema adventure of Necip Sarıcı was not coincidental. He was in love with the cinema since his childhood. The seventh art seduced him when he was in school-age… He was a regular at movie theaters in Beyoğlu. When the school ended, he landed a job in no time next to a radio repairman who was also a projectionist. As he was learning the ropes of the job from his master, he was not aware that he would acquire the profession. In 1949, the young Sarıca was in İzmir… He was going to take his first step towards the sector in this city. He would get his machinist license and start his cinema adventure with a huge projector, Microtechnica 11 B. He was going to become skilled in two and a half years, working in many movie theaters in İzmir.
When he returned to İstanbul in 1953, Necip Sarıcı met Yeşilcam Street for the first time with the encouragement of his friend, Mehmet Aslan… He landed his first job on L shaped street in the middle of Beyoğlu… Controlling the film rolls sent to the movie theaters in the warehouse belongs to Güven Film Company, owned by Yoakim Filmeridis. And for only 2 Turkish liras per movie… After a short time, he began to do the same thing for And Film Company owned by Turgut Demirağ. Since he was not satisfied enough with it; he also undertook the projectionist job And Movie Theater in Göztepe. When the calendars showed 1958, a Milliyet newspaper advertisement would divert Necip Sarıcı’s cinema adventure in a new direction. This new direction will also determine Necip Sarıcı’s place in Turkish cinema.
At the beginning of the same year, Lale Film Studio, owned by Cemil-Sabahat Filmer, announced that it was looking for staff to be trained. Necip Sarıcı would apply for this job and have his name written among 5-6 people who passed the exam. He was now an employee of the most important studio in the Turkish cinema market, Lale Film. His partnership that started with sound engineer Nihat Sevinç continued until the mid-1960s. Many films like “Kumpanya,” “Karacaoğlan’ın Kara Sevdası,” “Cumbadan Rumbaya,” “Hazreti Ömer’in Adaleti,” “Dişi Kurt,” “Otobüs Yolcuları,” “Gönülden Gönüle” reached the audience on the silver screen with the sounds recorded by Nihat Sevinç-Necip Sarıcı.
Starting from 1965, Necip Sarıcı was the sole go-to guy of Lale Film Studio’s sound recording room. Successful films of influential directors of Turkish cinema are now entrusted to him. The sound rooms’ sound heroes were four people in total… Yorgo İliadis, Marko Buduris, Tuncer Aydınoğlu, and Necip Sarıcı… He gained the trust of the producers and directors in a short time… The musical support of Metin Bükey and his friends was always with him. The voices in the movies were not real; almost none of them was the actor’s voice. The actors usually did not dub themselves. All the actresses were Adalet Cimcoz, Nevin Akkaya, Jeyan Tözüm, and all the actors were Abdurrahman Palay, Hayri Esen, Sadettin Erbil… The song dubbing was entrusted to Sevim Şengül and Belkis Özener.
Necip Sarıcı summarizes the dubbing period of Turkish cinema with an anecdote: “A famous actress, without introducing the stage actress who constantly dubs her, said to a press member ‘here is my voice’ in the dubbing hall of Lale Film Studio. The dubbing actress, who was offended by this, turned to the journalist and said, ‘Mademoiselle is the photo of my voice,’ pointing at the famous actress…”
Breaking his ties with Lale Film Studio in 1972, Necip Sarıcı founded his studio; Yeni Studio. This brand-new studio, as its name suggested, brought vitality to the Turkish movie market in the 1970s. So much so, famous producers and directors would line up to have the sound and music mixing of their films done there. The Yeni Studio would become a brand in no time. The person behind this success was Necip Sarıcı. He was devoted to doing his job in the best way possible, would burn the candles at both ends, and keep up with the movies’ opening dates. Whether it was Ertem Eğilmez, Memduh Ün, Atıf Yılmaz, or Osman F. Seden, everyone was content with his work…
The success of Necip Sarıcı also caught the attention of the owners of Lale Film Studio, his first love. When the calendars showed 1979, they did not hesitate to hand over the studio to their former tonmeister, Necip Sarıcı. When the studio began to work under the name of Yeni Lale Film Studio, the Turkish cinema also gained a new studio. He kept his studio active until the end of the 1990s… Necip Sarıcı is a cinema professional who worked in almost every branch of film making, whether as a projectionist, sound engineer, music director, studio ownership, producer, and cinema archivist from the heyday of Turkish cinema until today…
He was an intellectual not only in terms of cinema but also in cultural terms… When you go to his place, you will encounter a museum that appeals both to the eyes and ears. Although he displays tremendous humility, I do not know how many people know that he is also a photographer. The frames hanging on his walls must be a product of an epicure; the most beautiful examples of calligraphy and artist Muazzez Bey’s paintings… Necip Sarıcı is a happy cinema laborer, living in the middle of a world that film posters, projections, film cameras, and cameras meet… While listening to his memories as a cinema veteran, the unwritten, unofficial Turkish cinema history of the last 60 years is revealed.
I needed to get to know Necip Sarıcı at a time when the veterans of cinema who worked in the past did not like to talk much or talked exaggeratedly and incognito. Because many times a story I heard somewhere was re-told to me at another time with a changed identity. Since the day I went to the historical, now-defunct Lale Film Studio in Mecidiyeköy, I have not encountered such a situation either with Necip Sarıcı or the people who were outstanding cinema laborers and whom I have had the honor to meet there. Everything was real and documented… As someone who usually approaches every conversation greedily, I was astonished while listening to them during our first conversations. How could a person be so well-resourced?
The subject of our first conversations is always about Metin Erksan and the movie “The Well.” He had an intense friendship with Metin Erksan. When he was in sound engineering, he entered the film producing business with him. “The Well” was a movie in which Yeşilçam’s all the existing rules were disregarded… The story, the shooting conditions, and the money spent were above the Turkish cinema standards. So to speak, Necip Sarıcı has taken a leap of faith and dived into a challenging adventure with Metin Erksan. And at the end, by adopting the verse starting with “treat women with kindness” from the Surah of Nisa of Quran, he presented a cult movie to the Turkish cinema unyielding enough that would leave its mark on the human being’s sense of possession…
Necip Sarıcı continued his adventure as a producer, which he started with “The Well,” with Ömer Kavur in 1979. Kavur was a director who receded into the background after the “Yatık Emine” fiasco. He wanted to come back by co-producing with Necip Sarıcı. Ömer Kavur would be responsible for all the shooting conditions and Necip Sarıcı for studio conditions. This brilliant cooperation started to bear fruit in a short time. “Yusuf ile Kenan,” “Ah Güzel İstanbul,” and “Kırık Bir Aşk Hikayesi” put on the record as the outstanding examples of Turkish cinema. Next to feature films, Necip Sarıcı also produced documentaries.
On the other hand, Necip Sarıcı also has a rosary collection, which must be his other talent… His rosary collection is like a complement to his Mevlevi stance that he offers limitlessly to all his friends. He became the only source for those interested in the matter with the exhibitions he organized, the book he wrote— “Pray Pieces,” and the most successful documentary he produced on the subject that he is an expert now. Although I have no interest in it, I can say that I learned about the finesse of amber prayer beads thanks to him.
Necip Sarıcı, the man who dubs the photographs, thank you thousand times for the sounds, music, films, and memories you have given us.