Maybe There’ll Be A Perfect Blackberry Tart…

RELAXED AND CHEERFUL, HIS HEAD ENVELOPED IN A SAGE-SCENTED CLOUD, MEHMET GÜNSÜR IS THE TYPE WHO ALWAYS LOOKS AROUND TO SEE WHAT THERE IS WHEN HE STEPS INTO A PASTRY SHOP.

The young man’s actual intention is to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca. But he stops along the way when a tree catches his eye. He describes the peace he has found under the tree to an old man also going on the pilgrimage. When the old man returns from Mecca, the young man is still there, having found contentment on the way.

Like the youth in Ibn Arabi’s tale, actor Mehmet Günsür seems to have surrendered completely to his inner voice. “I go with the flow of life,” says the artist, whose film, “Love Likes Coincidences” is due to appear soon.

Life is full of coincidences then?
Exactly. There are so many of them! One should pay close attention to the little signs life sends us because they harbor many important clues.

Do you live by your inner voice?
To a large extent. I mean, I live instinctively and I make a point of living that way. It’s important not to have preconceived ideas.

Let’s say your wife loves tiramisu. Do you enter the pastry shop determined to buy it, or to see what they have first?
I always go in with the idea of seeing what there is. Definitely. Who knows, maybe there will be a fabulous blackberry tart…

Does this degree of flexibility indicate some indecisiveness?
Let me put it this way: I am actually a man who knows what he wants. But I’m open. If a good alternative appears and it convinces me, I can change my course.

That’s not indecision or adaptability; it means being contented with whatever comes my way. Let’s say I go to a restaurant and know what I want to eat. I still ask the waiter if there is something he would recommend…

If I see a sparkle in the waiter’s eye at that instant, that settles it. I have no hard fast boundaries. Life is soft and flexible. It changes shape right in front of you, and in your hands. It is not ice but water.

Is there any incident in your life that you would say was a very powerful sign? When you said right away, ‘This is my destiny’?
How could there not be?

The story of me and my wife is exactly like that. I wrote a short screenplay with a friend of mine. He directed it and I acted in it. We sent the film to a number of places, including the Valencia Film Festival. Somebody I met there was so insistent on introducing me to the woman who would later become my wife that I sensed it was a sign.

The festival ended and I went to Lecce. My wife, Katerina, had a fabulous screenplay describing two people who find the love of their lives. It’s called ‘Felici da Morire’ (Happy to Die). We met for that film. Then we put the script aside and personally lived that story.

We are still living it today. If we hadn’t shot that short film, if we hadn’t sent it to that festival, if I hadn’t gone to Lecce… What can I say? Life is a series of lucky coincidences.

Is there is anything simple that you would like to do…

To be a carpenter. To make, produce, bring something into existence in the most basic sense. To take a piece of wood and cut and shape it and turn it into a table. I would really like that. An enormous table for eight people. To cut and shape it all day long and in the end to produce a table. How wonderful that would be…

Is this a serious Plan B then?
Absolutely…

Acting is a kind of story-telling, but the director’s chair is really the place for telling and creating a story. Do you have any plans or aspirations to direct?

Of course I do. How could I not? I want very much to write and direct a story. I haven’t got anything yet, but I have lots of ideas. We made a number of short films, for example, and we’re going to splice them together and send them to festivals as a 35mm film. We have also conceived a screenplay but it’s still in the early stages. We shall see...

Italian, English, Turkish, French… in which language do you write your screenplays?
Definitely Turkish, even though I live in Italy at the moment and speak Italian most of the time.

Do the children know Turkish?
Of course they do. So does my wife. They took classes when we came to Turkey, and they are very gifted at languages in any case. When it comes to the kids, I always speak nothing but Turkish with them anyway.

All the time?
Yes. Even though I might speak Italian if there’s somebody with us on the playground just so that everybody will understand, I make a point of speaking Turkish with them the rest of the time. My son replies in Italian, but he understands.  When we came to Turkey, he started speaking very good Turkish within a week. Although my daughter is only a year old, I speak Turkish with her too. And I’m sure she understands even if she doesn’t reply.

THE REST FOLLOWED NATURALLY...
Born in Istanbul on May 8, 1975, Mehmet Günsür started acting in commercials at the age of 7. At 12 he worked in a television series with Rutkay Aziz, Filiz Akın and Müşfik Kenter. His sole interest was music during his years at the Italian High School and the Marmara University College of Communications. During his days managing a restaurant in Taksim he took a role in Ferzan Özpetek’s film, Hamam (1977), and turned to acting. Following Hamam he accepted an offer from an Italian theater and moved to Italy. The rest followed naturally: The Italian (2002), He’s in the Army Now (2003), Istanbul Tales (2004), Fall Down Dead (2007) and Voice (2010).