Kamis, 24 Maret 2011
Halit Refig - Haremde 4 kadin aka 4 Women in Harem (1965)
This film, created by Halit Refig - one of the prominent directors of new Turkish film language in the 1960s - and Kemal Tahir - novelist and drama writer who was deeply interested in Turkish history and structure of the Ottoman state -, is considered as a milestone in Turkish film history. The merits of this film lie beneath its complex structure which focuses on Young Turks, daily life and struggles in the 'Harem', contradictions between East and West and governing authority of Ottoman Empire by the end of the 19th century.
Young Turks are a group of young and educated idealists who struggle against the Sultan and his regime for better democratic standards. They are organized in France and Germany and also aim to settle Western values and life style in Ottoman land. The France-wing is the subject of this film.
There are three women in Pasha's harem, number of whom will turn to four in the near future. Those three do not have a sympathy for the newcomer. Additionally, there exists a kind of lesbian relationship between two of them.
Contradictions between Eastern and Western life style and culture are stressed in almost every scene: by the French female tailor at home, the New Year's Eve, point of women in harem for concepts like democracy, freedom and women rights, for instance. The Young Turk Dr. Cemal often stresses such values as well.
Governing authority of the state is squeezed between Germany, Britain and other European powers, in search of a balanced foreign policy. Two pashas closed to Sultan are in a competition to gain his appreciation and the agenda of the day is a project to be taken by Germans or the others.
Regarding the achievement in symbolic narration that every character and word corresponds to a certain element in Ottoman social and political life and the film language, "Four Women in the Harem" is one of the remarkable works in Turkish cinema.
Video and audio quality is not perfect. But this is the only existing copy of this rare and brilliant movie.