Waiting for the Clouds

Institute History


The year is 1975, and Turkey is going through a dramatic political period The ideology of a "single nation," established by the new Turkish Republic, has poisoned the public mentality with frustration and fear. The atmosphere is one of general intolerance. Waiting for the Clouds begins as the census clerks arrive early one morning in the small town of Trebolu. The streets remain empty and silent – not everyone can afford to be counted. Questions about one's past can open up too many wounds.

Ayse has dedicated her life to her older and ailing sister Selma. Their years of co¬habitation have created an intense bond between the sisters. Ayse must now face the harsh reality that she will soon be alone. For 50 years, she has kept silent about a tragic secret, one that might be uncovered after her sister's death.
Ayse's real identity is that of Eleni, the daughter of a Greek family. In 1916, the Ottoman Army forced the evacuation of several Greek villages west of the recently Russian-occupied Trabzon in a move tantamount to an ethnic cleansing operation. Ten-year-old Eleni and her family were pushed out of their home in an unorganized and paranoid deportation effort, forced to suffer a seemingly endless march south through ice and snow. After cold and starvation killed Eleni's mother and infant sister, she bravely pushed on to save herself and her six-year-old brother Niko.

Eleni is taken in by a Turkish family, and the trauma of her brutal experiences subsides through the loving bond she establishes with the teenaged Selma. For some 50 years, she has kept silent about her own identity to protect her status as Selma's sister. Now that her beloved Selma has passed away, Ayse suffers for the forgiveness of her long lost brother Niko.

Ayse's return to Greece proves how irrational political cruelty can psychologically and mentally displace human lives. Though born in Turkey, Ayse has regarded Greece as her native country all her life. But as she sets foot in Greece for the first time, she realizes this was never the case at all. Waiting for the Clouds raises questions about who we are and where we belong as it digs deeper into the intrinsic universal human feelings of guilt, fear, and love.


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