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Turkey’s Merve Dizdar wins best actress at Cannes for About Dry Grasses role

Merve Dizdar has won the Best Actress award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival for her teacher role in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses.” She became the first Turkish actress winning the award.

In her acceptance speech at the prestigious festival, 36-year-old Dizdar dedicated the award to “all my sisters who… take action to strengthen the struggle of women, who risk everything and never give up hope no matter what, and all fighting spirits waiting to experience the good days they deserve in Turkey.”

“My character Nuray is a woman who struggles for her beliefs and existence and has to pay a price for this cause. I would like to work for a long time to get to know and understand her, but unfortunately, being a woman in the geography I live requires knowing the feelings of Nuray by heart since the day I was born,” she said.

Merve Dizdar
Merve Dizdar

After hearing that she won the best actress award, Dizdar seemed surprised. She became the first Turkish actress winning the award.

Ceylan’s 197 minute-long “About Dry Grasses” focuses on a young art teacher Samet hoping to be appointed to Istanbul after his mandatory duty at a small village. Samet’s life changes after he meets another teacher Nuray, played by Merve Dizdar.

Ceylan said that he wanted the film to convey the "gradual change" in the personal beliefs of civil servants and teachers who were sent to compulsory duty in Eastern Anatolia at an early age.

Ceylan previously won the Palme d'Or for “Winter Sleep” back in 2014.

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