I've Got The Power
Amidst rising oppression in Turkey, two women, a doctor and a sex worker join forces to confront death and seek healing after the tragic deaths of their loved ones. They transform pain into power by queering grief.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hits, we are faced with the loss of loved ones and the loss of the world that we perceive as ‘ordinary’. In this film Turkey’s queer community shares its experience of how they face loss and how they grieve. With this film we share our healing perspective to the collective grief of the world.
I’ve Got the Power is the story of two friends, Buse and Hande joining forces to confront death and seek healing. As the state violence and oppression reach extreme levels in Turkey, the two women come together with their chosen family to deal with the sudden loss of loved ones, who died in tragic events such as bomb attacks and hate killings.
Buse is a trans rights activist by day, a sex worker by night. Since many trans people fall to hate crimes and diseases in Turkey, Buse has hardly seen natural deaths in her community. Knowing that she can be the next one to be killed, Buse is either drowned under fears, isolating herself or ignited by them, fighting on the frontline.
Hande is a medical doctor who dedicates her life to human rights activism. Since she organized a peace rally which got attacked by a suicide bomber, she suffers from trauma and survivor’s guilt. Her burden gets heavier as the state criminalizes the victims and prevents prosecution. Hande never talks about her experience in order not to contaminate other people with her dire memories.
Their mutual loneliness and muted suffering is revealed through their daily lives. As the camera roams like a ghost, Buse is in a whorehouse with customers. She receives phone calls from her girls, whom she’s adopted as “daughters”. Some were beaten, others got into fights with gangs or police. She is not in the power to help them. At dawn, when the girls go out for fun, Buse is left with her pain. She’s home alone opening up to her dog.
Hande is examining a patient in a refugee center, making sure he is in good health for his resettlement journey. She feels fulfilled while running from one emergency to another. Night time at home alone, she cuddles with her cat, puts on a David Bowie album and drinks vodka while painting, till she passes out on the couch.
Deeply longing for a safe space for grief, Hande and Buse meet their longtime friends Nihal and Salih at a storytelling workshop to mourn and find peace. They have burning questions in their minds: How can we say goodbye without a funeral? How to find peace when graves are being attacked? What does it mean to die as an ‘outcast’? And eventually, how can a fringe community create their own tradition of mourning in order to continue to live?
When Hande meets Salih, who has lost his sister in the Ankara massacre, Hande feels tormented. She feels sort of responsible for Salih’s sisters death as an organiser of the Ankara Peace Rally. Yet Hande finds the inspiration to look ahead as Salih manages to mirror her feelings. Nihal has found refuge in her queer family after losing her parents. She helps Buse to feel acknowledged as a mother of the community.
Accompanying their daily lives, joining them in the workshop, through their diaries and personal archives, we witness their grief as each one builds their own narrative and progressively the perspective changes. Each protagonist unveils their inner world, fears and vulnerabilities. As they reflect and share, they laugh and cry. They feel awkward, fragile and powerful at the same time. They find strength by being together, even in silence.
Finding power to dream together in the face of inevitable death, Buse and Hande are getting ready for a last act. Inspired by a song that they sang at their comrade’s funeral, they find a way to celebrate evaded deaths and face the ones which are yet to come: They decide to stage their own funerals in order to defy death. Even if it's a documentary set, they bring their fantasy to life, to face their own possible violent death with strength and joy. They want to say goodbye to their friends now and overcome the possible abruptness of death, in spite of the injustice they reject to fall victim to. It is time to write their own version of fate, it is time to play with death.
For only radical imagination can counter the extreme violence they are exposed to, they are now reborn as superheroes in their musical fantasy funeral, as a clear sass. Their mood, costumes and dance in a glamorous gay atmosphere redefine our relation with funerals in a utopian vision.
These dream funerals are not about saying farewells, but about celebrating life.