Monday, 22 June 2015

MOVIE MONDAY - FATMAGÜL

“Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.” - Freda Adler

In recent years, Turkey has produced a plethora of TV soap operas, which are not only popular in their country of origin, but also in many countries abroad. Like any soap operas from any part of the world, the quality varies greatly from the mediocre to the very good. We’ve watched three or four Turkish soapies and we have been very pleasantly surprised by two of them. One of them, which we found excellent is “Fatmagül ‘ün Suçu Ne?” (2010–2012), starring Beren Saat, Civan Canova, Engin Akyürek, Firat Çelik and Murat Daltaban.

The title of the series translates as “What is Fatmagül’s Fault?”, Fatmagül being the female lead, played admirably by the excellent actress Beren Saat. The plot concerns Fatmagül Ketenci who is a girl living in Ildırı ,a village on the Aegean coast in Çeşme a seaside resort town of İzmir with her brother who runs a dairy. She is engaged to marry a fisherman called Mustafa Nalçalı in a month’s time and dreams of getting away from her nagging sister-in-law who hates her.

Kerim Ilgaz is a well-mannered blacksmith apprentice who lives with his aunt Meryem Aksoy known affectionately as “Ebe Nine” (Granny Ebe) who is a herbal medicine practitioner. The big event of the season is the engagement of the area’s richest and most influential businessman Reşat Yaşaran’s son Selim to the politician Turaner Alagöz’s daughter Meltem. Kerim meets up with his old friends Vural, Erdoğan and Selim. After the engagement party, all four of them go on a drinking and drug binge to celebrate. Meanwhile, Fatmagül is off to see Mustafa off on another fishing trip and accidentally comes across the four drunk men.

Erdoğan, Selim and Vural gang-rape Fatmagül, with Kerim passed out and no recollection of the event. A traumatised and unconscious Fatmagül is discovered the next morning by Ebe Nine while she is picking herbs. As the town goes into an uproar over the rape incident, Kerim accepts the blame and agrees to marry Fatmagül as he mistakenly believes himself to be guilty and in order to protect his friends. As a result, Fatmagül and Kerim’s families sell their properties and move to İstanbul to start a new life. But things become complicated due to the machinations of the Yaşarans and their unscrupulous lawyer Münir Telci who seek to protect themselves as well as Mustafa who seeks revenge.

The series is based on Vedat Türkali’s novel, “Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne?”, which was made into a film in 1986. The screenplay of the series was written by Ece Yörenç and Melek Gençoğlu who have also written other successful series. It was directed by Hilal Saral  and the soundtrack is by Toygar Işıklı. The production values of the series (made by the Ay Yapim company) and the acting are excellent. Beren Saat, especially gives an amazing performance as she develops from an innocent young girl into a confident and mature woman, who learns to deal with her immense physical and psychological trauma.

The series was extremely popular in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, and the Arabic countries. It was shown in many other countries, over 30 in total, including France, England, Israel, Spain, Russia, Greece, Indonesia, Chile and Peru. We enjoyed watching this series, sitting through both seasons and remaining engaged and interested throughout. We recommend it as an excellent introduction to Turkish soap operas  if you have not watched any before.

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