The Institute of Historical Research, the Centre for the Study of the Balkans and Curzon Goldsmiths are pleased to host a special film screening in collaboration with the Beyond the Borders international documentary film festival.

The Legend of the Ugly King is the winner of the 2018 Best Historical Documentary award from the Beyond the Borders film festival. In this documentary, a young filmmaker explores the eventful life of the famous Kurdish director, actor, and revolutionary Yilmaz Güney, who achieved international attention through his films, including Yol (Winner of the Palm d’Or, 1982) or Sürü (Winner of the Golden Leopard, 1978).

The Legend of the Ugly KingThey called him ‘The Ugly King’: a myth, a hero, a film legend. But who was Yilmaz Güney? A highly talented director? A revolutionary? A murderer? A genius or a lunatic? Director Hüseyin Tabak is searching for answers by conducting research for a script about the Kurdish filmmaker from Turkey. Güney was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for political reasons and for murdering a judge. He started making movies from jail. His most famous film, Yol, won the Palme d‘Or in 1982. The deeper Hüseyin digs, the more the legendary Ugly King appears human and vulnerable.

Through interviews with family, friends and colleagues, as well as clips from his films and rare footage of the man himself, Hüseyin Tabak explores Güney’s enduring legacy.


The Legend of the Ugly King
Director: Hüseyin Tabak
Running Time: 122 minutes

22 October 2018, 6pm at Curzon Goldsmiths
Tickets: £7 general admission, £5 students & concessions

Book now at


Download the festival poster (PDF): AFISA FESTIVAL LONDON IHR
Film synopsis from German Documentaries.