Directed by Ertuğrul Karslıoğlu
Between Milas and Yatağan, if you’re careful not to miss the sign, you’ll find the turn-off to Stratoneika. Here, you’ll find the marble paths once roamed by Carians, Hellenes, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. Today, it is the villagers of Eskihisar who walk down these paths. According to UNESCO, ‘Stratonikeia is one of the rare examples in Turkey where visitors can enjoy the ‘unique experience of seeing ancient monumental structures and examples of architecture from Late Ottoman-Early Republican Period on either side of stone-paved Ottoman streets.’ Spend some time wandering through the settlement, and you may reach the same conclusion as UNESCO: ‘The ancient city of Stratonikeia and the old village of Eskihisar are not independent examples of two different civilizations, but they are integral parts of a heritage formed by the people who lived in different periods.’ Ertuğrul Karslıoğlu’s film In Front of their Houses introduces us to some of the residents of Eskihisar living amidst the remnants of the ancient city of Stratonikeia and its sanctuary, Lagina, which was excavated by Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910), the ‘father of Turkish archaeology’, at the end of the 19th century.
Born in the town of Göle in Kars province in eastern Turkey in 1946, Ertuğrul Karslıoğlu passed the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) examinations and began working for TRT as an editor in 1973. After two years, he became involved in directing collaborative productions. During this time, Karslıoğlu came to recognize the importance of documentary film, and with his understanding of aesthetics and creativity as indispensable components of the art of cinema, he dreamed of creating his own language in the field of documentary cinema. Karslıoğlu directed his first documentary, Lycian Civilization, for TRT in 1982. He continued working for the institution until 1992, when he left to form his own company, Eylül Productions. Karslıoğlu has been both inspiration and mentor to a generation of Turkish filmmakers. Since the 2000s, he has lectured on documentary cinema, cinematic language, and short film at different universities in Turkey. He is currently a lecturer at the AKEV University, Faculty of Art and Design in Antalya.