April 22, 2012

Skyfall on Istanbul

I blame James Bond for my romantic vision of Istanbul. I got my first glimpse of the city from the edge of a seat in a dark Philadelphia theater on a Saturday afternoon in the early 1960s, watching Sean Connery save the world from the evils of Spectre in “From Russia with Love.”

I moved to the real Istanbul a few years later, and as a young teenager trooped down to the fabled Emek Cinema to follow on the screen behind a vast proscenium arch, under its gilted rococo ceiling, Bond’s perilous trip on the Orient Express. I was a young orientalist myself, and my own journey home along the Bosphorus seemed every bit as exciting as the Istanbul on the screen.

Today I am among the first to cheer James Bond’s return to town in his incarnation as Daniel Craig. Whole sections of the historic city have been turned into a film set for the new Bond epic, “Skyfall.” I’m happy to endure the inconvenience of police cordons and traffic gone haywire as long as the result is another glorious rendering of Istanbul, as idealized as in the prequel.

Read more on The New York Times: Skyfall on Istanbul

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