Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Music makes life more pleasant for most of us, but it has been a political tool.  I have little love for traditional Turkish music, but this movie, "Beynelmilele illustrates the role of music as a weapon.  In truth the main reason I watched this movie is I had enjoyed the presence of an actress who I had seen in a most memorable film years ago.

Set in Turkey in the 1980's depicting a right wing dictatorship.  Aimed at traditional musicians who play music that is outlawed.  Many Westerners would be very bored with the music, but should respect that all music has evolved from common elements.  Wanting to survive the musicians try to co-operate.

We see a military leader demanding a change in the songs chosen.  A wedding is shown with women doing traditional dances on one side of a curtain and men doing the same sort of dance on the other side.  Later the men are forced to shave off mustaches and cut their hair.  We also see that there are informers who report of violations on petty matters.

There were warnings that the last few minutes were very different.  What I saw was a violent reaction to some revolutionary protest and several years later an ironic section with the Russian Army chorus singing a revolutionary song (The International) that the main female lead said had been written by her father who in fact had claimed that to save her.

Oversimplified, but the focus is on the music that is favored and hated by the dictatorial regime.

The director and co-writer, Sirri Sureyya Onder was born in 1960 and thus would have been in his twenties at the time of the actual events of this movie.  He played a minor role in the film.  He played oher bits and once appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" on a Turkish themed episode.  This film won numerous international awards for .  In 2011 as a socialist he became a member of the Turkish Parliament.  "Beynelmilel" was his first script and the next year he adapted "Bliss" (2007) which is one of my all time favorite movies.  Check out http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2011/05/turkish-delight-in-book-and-movie-form.html

The co-director, Muharrem Gulmez is better known as a producer, but has written, directed and acted in some other Turkish films.  He was the second unit director for a James Bond feature, "The World is Not Enough"(1999).   (He is listed as the production manager for "Head-on" (2004). 

The cinemtaographer, Gokhan Atilmis won an award for his work on "Beynelmilel". and has 32 film credits to his name. 

Cezmi Baskin played the band leader and won a festival award for the role.  His acting career started in 1988 and with over 90 credits continues with plans for 2022.

Ozu Namal is the main reason I considered watching this movie.  She was mesmerizing in "Bliss" (2007).  She has won numerous acting awards including one for best comedic actress.  In "Beynelmilel" she plays the daughter of the band leader.

Getting wrapped up in modern Western music it is easy to overlook that music has always been part of society I suspect from caveman days. 

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