Guide to SKOPJE

Turkish cinematography in the race for the Oscars

The latest cinematographic spectacle by Turkish film industry, the project called “Fetih 1453” (The Conquest 1453), has finally had its world premiere. After more than three years of hard work the director Faruk Aksoy can proudly present a film that deeply impresses in every segment. It is more than sufficient to watch just a few sequences of the trailer to see that it is truly a masterpiece that makes Hollywood green with envy.

The obvious lack of ideas in the biggest film studios was shrewdly used by the powerful Turkish cinematography. They employed all their potentials in order to prove that they can produce a high budget film to compete with Hollywood blockbusters.

The premiere in Turkey was symbolically scheduled for 14:53 hrs. and in the next several weeks the film broke almost all records. Not only did Turkey produce their most expensive film, with a budget of $17mil, but it also became the most seen film of all time, and is tipped to break records, win awards and set new standards.

Film critics compare it to Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” and Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy”, which is a compliment itself, unlike many other more expensive and ambitious projects that have ended up as a complete disappointment.

Reviewers are mostly concerned with the aesthetics of the film, although they are not indifferent to the political context and the message it sends. The power of the former Empire is compared to contemporary economic, political and military potentials of modern Turkey, a country that has managed to impose its influence as a global power.

The fall of Byzantium

“Fetih 1453” is an epic historical story about the conquest of Constantinople by the powerful Ottoman army led by the great warrior Sultan Mehmed II. This conquest comes at the peak of the Ottoman Empire which satisfies its appetite for domination by conquering the symbol of the Eastern Roman Empire, the city of Constantinople, the centre of Byzantium.

The film’s opening scene shows Sultan Mehmed saying: “Constantinople will definitely be conquered one day. The commander who conquers it is a blessed commander. His soldiers are blessed soldiers.”

The storyline does not only focus on the great conquest, but the film also presents the life story of the young Sultan. He ascends the throne at the age of twelve, burdened with the legacy of his famous father and determined to prove to his subordinates that he has the heart of a great leader. He succeeds to do so, after he displays the Empire’s flag on the walls of the destroyed city.

“Fetih 1453” is a film you simply must see. It is produced according to all modern aesthetic criteria for a historical spectacle and fully deserves your attention and time. In reference to the great reviews it is getting, it would not be surprising if it wins the prestigious Oscar for best foreign language film, since it definitely deserves the award.

Director:  Faruk Aksoy

Screenplay:  Atilla Engin, Irfan Saruhan

Cast Devrim Evin, Ibrahim Celikkol, Dilek Serbest, Recep Aktug

The film is currently shown round Europe and, unfortunately, we have no information whether it will have a premiere in cinemas in Macedonia. We highly recommend that you see this film if it comes to a cinema near you, and enjoy in the magic of cinematographic art.

Zoran Zafirovski