Day 46: 05/11/2020
Hacivat Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü?, Ezel Akay
This Turkish comedy movie is about the small cultures such as the Ionians, Esrefoğlu Seljuks, Tatars, Yörük Shamans, Hatunlar (warrior women) living in Anatolia around the time Ottoman Empire was being established. We learn concepts from history books in plain sentences, such as “the Ottoman Empire succeeded because it managed to bring all the Anatolian cultures together” or “Anatolia first had thousands of Gods (under Hittites or Greeks), then adopted Christianity and then Islam”. We don’t really learn “how”.
This movie was great to show me how. A Yörük nomad turns Muslim because he wants to get a job and sees that it is much easier to get a job under the Ottoman rule if you are a Muslim. There is a bishop trying to convert him to Christianity when he hears that. The process is very easy like a Baptism ceremony where the Hoca says a prayer and it is believed you are converted. Yet, when he is asked about his father’s death he says “Göktengri aldı” which means “The Sky God took him” and it is a belief of Shamanic tradition. Today we say that we still carry on many Shamanic rituals such as wearing red or decorating a Christmas tree. I can see “how”. People never really left their rituals or beliefs and carried it from generation to generation.
Technically the movie merges the historical feeling with a painting look very very well. While some of the backgrounds of the movie is painted, the transitions are so smooth from painting to nature that you often feel baffled when it happens.
Also the characters are lighted very well at certain scenes which visualize the historical Hacivat and Karagöz characters really well.
These characters are famous as shadow puppets in Turkish, Anatolian and Balkan cultures and here you can see their transformation from being human beings to being historical characters.
There is a very famous Turkish painting called “Kamplumbağa Terbiyecisi (The Tortoise Trainer)”.
The last scene from the movie very successfully depicts this painting and interprets it in a fictional way to convert Hacivat and Karagöz from alive characters into those shadow puppets.
The moving camera pans from behind the scene to the audience view to show this transformation.
When you really know what you want to say through film, you open a variety of creative ways before yourself to give your message in the most profound way.
Lastly I love it when a small detail in a movie pops up in a very determinative scene. Here, the comedic scene where Hacivat teaches Karagöz to count turns into one of the most tragic scenes I have seen in film history.
Uf. It is very powerful.
Lastly, sending virtual hugs to incredible actors Haluk Bilginer, Beyazıt Öztürk, Ayşen Gruda and Şebnem Dönmez. They are among the greatest representatives of Turkish art ❤ .