“Band Aid” is actor Zoe Lister-Jones’s first foray into directing, and a bold foray it was. Not only did she manage to pull off the twin duties of actor and director with significant skill for a first timer, but she did so with an all-woman crew, a choice which makes perfect sense when one considers that Band Aid is a dramatic retelling of the story of Yenigün Müzik Topluluğu, the “women’s choir” Turkish musical group best known for writing songs about 1990s MLKP martyrs.
Set in the United States, this dramatic retelling imagines what it would be like if the Istanbul-based group had been formed in California. And somehow it works! Despite lacking the obvious context of Gazi Mahallesi, watching Lister-Jones’s depiction of dozens of young people raise their fists to martyr songs brought a tear to the eyes of everyone in the audience at our special and exclusive Worker’s Spatula screening of the director’s cut of the film.
Watching “Band Aid” was a unique glimpse into the personal experiences of the women who would go on to sing songs of the struggle within Yenigün Müzik Topluluğu. The role of women in all parts of struggle, the role of arts in morale and healing, the motivation to carry on against all odds in the memory of the lost children whose laughter will be our revenge, truly this is a film that can make even the most foreign leftist feel right at home in this story of Turkish militants. It is astonishing how Lister-Jones is able to tie in music and everyday struggle so masterfully, to the point where the escalation of violence in concert with progressively more melancholy music feels the only natural choice for the audience.
Truly nothing can match the feeling of revolutionary determination one feels together with Lister-Jones’s character in the final scene where she approaches George Zimmerman, to avenge Trayvon Martin’s death by detonating the bomb strapped to her own body. Right at the moment of the detonation, the screen goes black and the soundtrack is silent, and you can hear the people on each side of you breathing, before “Yasemin” starts playing.
Speaking of bodies and “hardcore”, though, it was a bit unfair that we didn’t get to see Adam Pally’s erect penis during the nude scenes. What gives, Zoe?