In Istanbul, football and politics merge into one. Despite the dangerous hooligan culture, this mix provided an unlikely breeding ground for friendship in the summer of 2013.
‘Istanbul United’ opens with the introduction of the three leading football teams in Turkey: Galatasary, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas. Their rivalry is fierce, and their unconditional dislike towards each other has been known to be fatal. First-time filmmakers Farid Eslam and Olli Waldhauer capture the essence of what it means to be a supporter of these teams and the mentality that comes with it. Riots and chaos between football rivals is far from a surprise, but what shocks and compels the most is not only the intense love that each fan has for his team, but also the intense hatred that the group collectively have for the others, with some truly appalling footage of hooliganism.
Our setting abruptly changes from the football stadium to the Gezi Park protests, and as the police brutality towards peaceful protestors reaches levels of sheer inhumanity, unbelievingly, the footballs fans can be seen uniting together, fighting a greater and universal evil.
Brutal and vibrant, this is Istanbul United.