Sunday, April 15, 2012

My First Turkish Movie -‘Kurtuluş Son Durak’

One night I was invited to a gal's night out with about six Turkish married women. My friends were organizing themselves to see a new Turkish movie with an all-female cast called ‘Kurtuluş Son Durak.’

I hadn't even yet seen the inside of our local movie theatre and was pleasantly surprised by the deluxe leather or leather-like Lazy-Boy style chairs. It was a beautiful theatre and very, very comfortable. I bought a giant popcorn to complete the experience and sat down not knowing what to expect. I didn't even know what the movie would be about.

This movie, a comedy with a theme of domestic violence, was adorable! The story starts when a glamorous woman, recently dumped by her boyfriend, moves into an Istanbul building. All of the other ladies in the building are, of course, curious about her but she resists their friendship.

The women all have their own struggles. One woman has devoted her life to her bedridden father; another has resigned herself to daily beatings from her husband so long as he doesn't touch the kids; another is facing the reality that her Mafioso boyfriend won't marry her, a young teenager hates seeing her mother beaten. Eventually, the ladies unite through their struggles, and become empowered to solve their problems. Most importantly, they have adopted a motto to "oppose all forms of violence."

The movie showcases
six skilled Turkish actresses
What I loved about the movie is that it showed absolutely beautiful parts of Turkish female culture. A Turkish woman will never let anyone starve. If food could cure cancer, there would be no cancer in Turkey! Even if a Turkish woman doesn't do the cooking herself, she has immense pride in her country's cuisine and is always quick to offer it. Turkish hospitality is awe-inspiring. They eventually wear down their new neighbor with their amazing food!

Typical Turkish Dinner with Rakı
(Turkish anise-flavored liquor),
good fellowship,
and good music
Secondly, Turkish women, actually Turkish people in general, are quick to share joy through music and dance. Have I met a bad Turkish dancer yet? I have not! Since childhood, folks in Turkey have been learning about music and folk dancing, belly dancing, and traditional dancing from their elders.

This movie was written by a man named Barış Pirhasan and directed by his son Yusuf Pirhasan. I need to give special appreciation to them as a viewer for creating this hilarious, uplifting script. Domestic violence seems like it wouldn't be a good subject for a movie, because it could seem so hopeless and dreary. There is a real accelerating problem with domestic violence in Turkey with domestic murders of women up 1400% in the last seven years. This movie seems like such a healthy way to create conversation about the problem and eliminate denial about the topic. Isn't that what is great about artists? They are always challenging us to do better, notice this, address that! Kudos, gentlemen.

This movie was a fun playful revenge fantasy similar in spirit to Dolly Parton's, Lily Tomlin's, and Jane Fonda's "9 to 5," the American movie about the glass ceiling women encounter at work. I didn't need much help during the movie to understand it since it was about the universal theme of relationships and friendship. The creators should be invited to appear at film festivals everywhere! Click on my title to visit the film's website.


Senior Dogs Abroad said...

Karen - Thanks for the tip. After your first movie in Turkish, maybe you'll get addicted to the evening soaps, or dizis, like I am! My favorite one with this theme is Fatmagül'ün Sucu Ne? (What is Fatmagul's Crime?). It's a great way to learn Turkish, learn about Turkish culture and be entertained at the same time.


Julia said...

This film sounds great - but then I've never watched a Turkish film and not been moved by it. A VERY worrying statistic, the 1400% increase on domestic murder of women. Do you think a part of that could also be because more people feel they can come forward to report the crimes, these days?

Karen said...

I don't know why there is such a rise in domestic violence in Turkey. The stats cry out for study and action. One statistic from the VOA article I found interesting: Germany and Turkey have roughly the same population but Germany has 386 shelters for domestic violence victims to Turkey's 70 shelters. Having a place to escape to, particularly if a woman is at the lower end of the economic scale, is critical.

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