Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Based on Zülfü Livaneli's best selling novel, "Bliss" (Mutluluk | Turkey 2007 | in Turkish | 105 min.) tells an extraordinary tale about the conflicts between blind faith in ancient tradition and compassion in modern society.
At the beginning of the film, 17 year old Meryem (Özgü Namal is found unconscious on a river bank. Being a victim of rape, she is ordered to die according to the tradition mores in the village. Meryem's cousin Cemal (Murat Han) is giving the order to carry out the sentence en route to Istanbul. Meryem is torn between obeying the order and following his own heart. They meet a free spirited professor Irfan (Talat Bulut), who is traveling in his boat escaping the real world. With Irfan's help, Cemal breaks off from the tradition and begins a new journey.
The dramatic yet predicable plot unfolds in front of a breathtaking landscape. The cinematography terrifically captures the beauty of the nature, which gives us a welcome relief from the perplexed character development.
Due to untold reasons, Cemal is able to change his mind swiftly. Cemal seems to be a good natured guy to begin with, it is unconvincing for him suddenly to abolish his belief in the old moral code. After all, he is the one who agrees to carry out the death sentence, even though it's obvious to everyone that he will fail his task.
Hornor killing is a crucial element of the film's story. But, why should a rape victim be blamed for what happens? Why does the ancient tradition want to kill the victim instead of capturing the rapist? If everybody (including Cemal and Meryem) seems firmly believe in this code even the logic sounds absurd, it must be very hard for them to break off from this belief. Unfortunately, the film does not explain either why they believe in it or how they break away from it. Once they get to Istanbul, that belief begins to crumble. Must be the fantastic scenery.