Cars of the Revolution (2008) Poster

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Almost Flawless and Inspirational
ulnoyman11 November 2008
"Devrim Arabalari" is one of the best period movies Turkish cinema ever produced, with its fascinating screenplay, well-built and portrayed characters, and an inspiring story.

The movie tells the story of the Turkish attempt to build a "national automobile" in the 1960s, shortly after the military coup that replaced a "pro-American authoritarian democracy" with an "independent-minded libertarian junta" (Yes, you read it right). Main protagonists are the idealist engineers of the State Railroad Directorate, who undertook the impossible task of designing and building of an automobile from scratch only in 130 days.

Director Ornek and his well-picked cast takes us through the 4-month period of hard-work that produced the "Devrim" (Revolution) to a backdrop of Turkish political situation that followed the military coup. Both the screenplay and direction are praiseworthy, and Tolga Ornek deserves much of the credit for keeping it simple, subtle and fascinating.

Unlike most other contemporary Turkish movies full of popular names and pretty faces, all the actors are "actors", each with well-deserved respectability and genuine talent. Everyone does a good job in making their characters real and fascinating enough.

See it.
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A Realistic Natural Movie
bkyavas-76-5584936 May 2012
This movie is a docudrama of a dramatic success story. I felt nothing exaggerated beyond the reality, the focus to the personal lives and details of the individuals are also very natural despite they have not from a documented source.

People who expect dramatic reality probably will like this movie. On the other hand, people those who are expecting momentary fiction, action etc. may not get satisfied with this movie. This is because the only abnormal thing in the movie is the design and prototype production of the car in within a too short time and bad conditions. All act are very successful reflection from real lives.

You may like it as any other good movie if you watch it without any bias or comparing to fictional films. In my opinion it is worth watching.
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A Story of Heroic Failures
l_rawjalaurence3 March 2016
Following on from Örnek's previous film GELİBOLU (2005), DEVRİM ARABALARI (THE CARS OF THE REVOLUTION) looks once again at the pitfalls of nationalism, concentrating especially on bureaucracies.

Following the military coup of 1960, General Cemal Gürsel (Sait Genay) looks for some means to reinforce Turkish nationalism as a means of uniting a divided country. He sponsors a project conducted in the central Anatolian city of Eskişehir to build Turkey's first automobile - the Devrim (or Revolution). A team of crack engineers is assembled under the leadership of Gündüz (Taner Birsel) and told that they have just 130 days to complete the project. The film concentrates on the team's trials and tribulations as they strive to fulfill the brief.

Örnek draws a direct parallel between the birth of the automobile and the birth of engineer Necip's (Onur Ünsal's) first child to his wife Nilüfer (Seçil Mutlu). She experiences labor pains before the birth, but after a long while the child appears, much to the engineers' delight. Lıkewise the automobile finally appears after a long gestation period, but is rendered still-born during a humiliating ceremony at the Ankara Meclis (Parliament building) when one of the prototypes runs out of gas with General Gürsel in the front seat. The newspapers have a field day with headlines such as "The Revolution Didn't Work," signaling the demise of the project.

Örnek suggests that the principal cause of this mishap was the intransigence of the government bureaucrats led by Sami (Uğur Polat). Ostensibly they are worried about the spiraling costs of the project, but in truth they resent the idea that General Gürsel is making decisions on his own without consulting them. Hence they try every strategy in the book to derail the project: the final indignity in the Meclis was entirely their responsibility. In a series of significant exchanges, Latif, one of the engineers (Selçuk Yöntem) explains to Necip that in Turkey everyone is out to destroy success, mostly out of spite. Hence the country's industry cannot develop in any significant way.

Although set over half a century ago, DEVRİM ARABALARI makes trenchant criticism of a mindset that still prevails today in government circles. No one, it seems, is really interested in radical change, for fear of their own futures; and they will make every effort to destroy the efforts of others, either by dragging their feet or by direct sabotage. We sympathize with Gündüz and his faithful band of brothers, as they understand that the project was ultimately not designed to serve the nation, but rather to increase their own sense of self-worth. It was worth doing, as it brought a group of disparate personalities together and created a community of purpose as a result.
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A docudrama with powerful characters beneath the hood...
cgyford3 September 2009
Turkish filmmaker Tolga Örnek follows the success of historically documentaries "Hittites" and "Gallipoli" with this curious but compelling docudrama recreation of the race by the engineers of the State Railroad Directorate at Eskişehir, following the 1961 coup d'état by Cemal Gursel, to build the first Turkish automobile.

Haluk Bilginer is resplendent as the idealistic and obsessive head of the project whose passion seems to single-handedly drive the project whilst Taner Birsel shines as the strongest member of a supporting cast that includes Vahide Gördüm, Seçil Mutlu, and a wonderful turn from Sait Genay as Cemal Gursel himself.

The director along with fellow screenwriter Murat Disli use a simple yet successful procedural approach to great effect to follow the production of the "Devrim" car from its inception to it's bittersweet final test whilst never losing track of the fascinating characters behind its creation in a surprisingly moving story.

In Turkey no success is left unpunished.
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more than good
erenznur28 October 2018
Dear publicity agency, if i were you, i would spend every peny that i had to promote this movie, because i would know that it worthed. those faces i will never forget, faces of sadness, humble happiness, desperation... very human, very deep. lights and colour balances are also great. the story itself is a masterpiece, i believe. more than enough, more than good... great movie. bravo...
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Avoid this movie
sendtomy30 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Come on, this movie is way too overrated! OK, it is shot well, acting is OK( although it is overacted at times), the plot moves along smoothly. Overall, it feels a lot like a very long advertisement, promoting Turkish automobile industry which would not disturb those viewers who are particularly interested in cars, for instance, or advertisements. After the actor ends his long speech with a climactic voice, what is lacking is not more than a sound at the background uttering the name of the brand.

Even this wouldn't be too disturbing had the movie not condoned the 1960 coup d'etat. The cars in question are ordered by Cemal pasha so he overcomes his inferiority complex that Turks cannot even make a needle. The car is branded Revolution, just as the coup was euphemistically called in those days (and even today), but not appreciated by the general public, who simply do not understand what is bestowed upon them.

The best engineers of the country come together to finish the business while we are supposed to be thrilled as we watch the countdown to the deadline for the production of the car. The message delivered in the movie is simply too disturbing for anyone in their right mind: don't criticize and don't argue - just obey the orders and make sacrifices to achieve the goals set by the Leader. Even a smile from the Leader provokes waves of happiness, while letting him down would amount to betraying the country.

To summarize: the artistic value of the move is low (very much like a TV soap opera), and the political message is repulsive. If you want a good Turkish movie, do yourself a favor and watch Uc Maymun by Nur Bilge Ceyhan or Bes valid by Reha Erdem. Don't waste your time with this one as I unfortunately did.
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