Yol -The full version in Cannes Classics, the birth of the Palme d’or 1982

Film still of Yol - The Full Version © RR

The charisma of the legendary and socially engaged Turkish director Yilmaz Güney (1937-1984) transcended his national borders on the day in 1982 when he was awarded the Palme d’or before a full house in the former Palais des festivals. When the 35mm copy of Yol (without sound) arrived on Gilles Jacob's desk, it had already made an extraordinary journey that sounds more like fiction than reality. Swiss producer Donat F. Keutsch, a friend of Yilmaz Güney, talks about the adventure of Yol -The full version.

You have to remember the context of that time: in the eighties, Yilmaz Güney was the most famous personality in Turkey, along with Atatürk. He was the people's hero because he had played Robin Hood in a hundred action films.

He was imprisoned after a military coup d’état just when the film was to be made. His script was extremely detailed and he was able to send instructions to Serif Gören, his cameraman, from the prison.


With a team of people, I organized Yilmaz Güney's escape, which was for me an act of rebellion against Fascism. As in the film, we took advantage of a permit to get him out of the country. He was so famous that I transported him in the trunk of the car all the way to the border. The rest is like a novel. France had agreed to grant him political asylum, but to get to France was another story. We rented a yacht that we had to abandon in Greece. So I gave him a fake Swiss identity card, which I made myself, and he caught a plane to Paris.


February 1982: Yol runs for two and a half hours, the montage is done, but only hastily. To convince the Festival de Cannes to select it, it was screened without the sound, with Güney providing a live narration of all the male voices!


At last, at the Festival de Cannes, the film was screened before a full house with a strong contingent of opponents of the then-current Turkish regime. It was received with a standing ovation that lasted 15 minutes.


The restored and completed version presented in Cannes Classics is amazing. The sixth story that was missing in the montage has been added and the sound has been cleaned.


A presentation by DFK FILMS LTD. Zurich. 2K restoration from the original 35mm negative, the interpositive and the positive copy. Restoration and new sound mix from the digitized original sound track. International sales: The Match Factory.