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Humble and introvert Muharrem lives in a solitary and meager existence of a prayer and sexual abstinence adhering strictly to the most severe Islamic doctrines.His extraordinary devotion attracts the attention of the leader of a rich and powerful Istanbul religious group and he offers him an administrative post as a rent collector for their numerous properties. Muharrem's new job throws him into the modern outside world he has successfully avoided for so long. He soon witnesses conflict attitude toward alcohol consumption and goodwill.He notices that he himself has become proud, domineering and even dishonest.To make matters worse, Muharrem's inner peace is unnerved by the tormenting image of seductive woman who tempts him in his dreams,both night and day.With the balance of his devotion now upset,his fear of God begins to eat away at his senses.Written by
Turkey's Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008). See more »
not a documentary and not a critique but a critical insight
I think it goes much to far to call this excellent film a documentary about the life of a Muslim sect or a critique of political Islam or even the role of the religious orders in Turkish economic life. Rather I would like to claim that it gives just an impression of the life Turkish religious orders, society and the mind of a devout religious man who previously led a uncritical life without real challenges and without deep thoughts about practical life and religion. Therefor he's unprepared for both of it.
I would guess that one could find his "state of mind" also with a range of uncritical believers of many religions who, although ardently believe stay shallow in their intellectual penetration of their believe and worldly life. They stay rather caught in conservative dogmas, which where made to control man and are far away from a healthy human experience.
Not everything shown in Film should be taken at face value. The depiction of the ritual life gives an impression of the ecstatic quality of such gatherings but is exaggerated in their frenetic appearance. There may have been reasons for this depiction but one should rather try not to confuse it with the an authentic account; this account one should rather get in contact with real orders.
The protagonist has high values which he fails to satisfy. This puts him in a moral dilemma which is very instructively set in contrast on one hand to worldly every day people and merchants with their cheating and accommodation with an imperfect world. On the other there is a religious order, which although is directed towards spirituality is of course also involved in worldly enterprises and has of course it financial interests. Nothing gets euphemised but the problems of both - profane and spiritual - get expounded in a way that a psychological profile of shallow but devote believer meets social criticism (not only hitting the Turkish Islamic milieu of its setting but also similar ones in other regions and religions).
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