This is the Disney World

2000, Video, 9’15”


 

This is a story about the drug addict children living on the streets of Istanbul, their invisibility in the social space, their exclusion and ignorance by the general population. The video is divided into single chapters about love, violence, fate, growing up, fathers and the city.

 

Fun City can be read written in neon above an entertainment centre in Istanbul, and the lyrics of a hit song tell a tale of green hills and violets - it can be heard on the streets near to Taksim, in Tarlabasi. Green hills and violets -- the boy with the hazy gaze and the encrusted fingernails knows the lyrics by heart. He sings with eyes half closed, wandering through the passage, a cloth with solvent in his hand which he raises to his mouth every couple of minutes. 

 

There are three small boys, at most eight years old, spending most of time on a grassed area in the city. "We are here because of our fathers," says one of them, "fathers stink". The way they laugh, embrace each other and tell each other scenes from films which they have dreamt up makes it seem as if it were possible to have something resembling happy moments even in misery, in a constant state of being socially excluded. 

 

The video This is Disney World about the street children of istanbul is a documentary, more literary than neutral: Esra Ersen is not an observer in the journalistic sense. She brings herself into the situation, takes initiatives, makes contact without herself appearing in her work. But on the basis of how the children react to her, what they tell her, how they explain the world to her using the window display of a photo shop, it can be seen to what degree Esra Ersen as a person plays a role in her film. The street children of Istanbul know they are being taken seriously by the artist with the camera. With her presence and sensitivity Ersen portrays people and situations and brings us closer to those we are looking at, while conveying an understanding of the situation in which they exist.