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  • Bliss
  • 123 minutes  -  Drama
  • Original title: Mutluluk
  • Director:Abdullah Oguz
  • Language: Turkish
  • Country: Turkey

When a young girl is raped in a traditional Turkish village, her presence proves shameful to the locals. They decide to dispose of her, and her cousin is tasked with dragging her to Istanbul and murdering her there. Along the way, though, the traveling pair will discover a different future.

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REVIEW BY Caner Dzhenko Ceylan Movie EXPERT
Review posted: 08/10/2013

In this film, people from a small village in southeast Turkey decide to kill 17-year-old Meryem (Özgu Namal) because she has been raped. She doesn’t remember anything, but the village elders think the situation is shameful for the locals, according to traditional beliefs, and they don’t want her alive anymore. The richest of the leaders decides that the job must be carried out by his son Cemal (Talat Bulut), who is also Meryem’s cousin, so that the family’s issue is resolved within the family. The village is full of soldiers, because of terrorist activity around the Iraqi border, and the murder must not be discovered by the army or police. So, according to the plan, Cemal will take Meryem to Istanbul, kill her, leave her body there, and come back.

Meanwhile, Professor Irfan (Murat Han) wakes up one morning and decides to change his life completely. He leaves a letter to his wife, telling her that he is fed up with fake smiles and lies. So, he starts to live on his boat, travelling down the coasts of Turkey. One day, he meets Cemal and Meryem, takes them aboard his boat, and their story starts heading towards happiness.

"Mutluluk has opened several international film festivals, has won a number of awards, and has even garnered glowing praise from legendary Greek director Theodoros Angelopoulos."

The movie portrays how men in some villages of southeast Turkey can be cruel against a raped woman. It doesn’t matter that it’s not her fault. Since she had sex before marriage, they call her “kirli” (dirty) and they believe her family has been dishonoured because she lost her virginity out of wedlock. So, a member of the family must kill her, and this is called, “Namusu temizlemek” (Clearing the honour). If a family member does not or cannot kill the “dirty” girl, the village starts calling him “godoş,” which means “pimp” in Turkish slang. This tradition has a special name, “tore.” It means something very similar to “tradition,” but in a negative light. Unfortunately, such brutalities still occur in some parts of eastern Turkey, but happily, their number decreases every year.

When Cemal and Meryem see the tall buildings, historical places, and modern life of Istanbul, they are amazed. This is really what happens when someone from the east side of Turkey comes to Istanbul. In the city, they meet relatives, and Meryem tells them how she loves the city, but one of the relatives replies, “Istanbul batsın” (Let Istanbul sink). This term is used by south-eastern citizens who come to Istanbul with big hopes but live a very bad life. We also see how some eastern women live under the control of family members. Meryem doesn’t even have an ID, because her father didn’t care about it and he uses her as a servant. When she talks to someone, Cemal says, “Don’t talk.” When she looks at someone, he says, “Don’t look.” All the time, she is afraid of doing something wrong. These women know that they can be beaten up at any time if they don’t obey the men in their family.

Mutluluk has opened several international film festivals, has won a number of awards, and has even garnered glowing praise from legendary Greek director Theodoros Angelopoulos.