Sunday, September 17, 2006

Takva - A Man's Fear of God

Takva - A Man's Fear of God

Programme: VISIONS
Director: Özer Kiziltan
Country: Turkey/Germany
Year: 2006 | 97 minutes | Colour/35mm

Production Company : Yeni Sinemacilik
Foreign Sales Agent : The Match Factory

Executive Producer: Feridun Koc, Falk H. Nagel
Producer: Sevil Demirci Çakar, Önder Çakar, Fatih Akin, Klaus Maeck, Andreas Thiel
Screenplay: Önder Çakar
Cinematographer: Soykut Turan
Editor: Andrew Bird
Production Designer: Erol Tastan
Sound: Onur Yavuz
Music: Gökçe Akçelik
Principal Cast: Erkan Can, Güven Kiraç, Meray Ülgen, Duygu Sen, Salaettin Bilal

In Takva – A Man’s Fear of God, director Özer Kiziltan has tackled one of life’s most difficult questions and, in so doing, has created an extraordinary piece of cinema: if we base our lives on a belief in God, and then experience a crisis of faith, are we losing God or is God abandoning us because of our questioning?

Muharrem (Erkan Can) is a forty-five-year-old single man, living in one of the oldest residential districts in Istanbul, in the very house in which he was born. He works every day as the assistant to a sack trader, the same job he has held since he was eleven years old. The conservative and traditional behaviour of his late parents and of his community have led Muharrem to be an introvert, so his exceptionally simple life centres on his total devotion to the services and exercises of a religious sect. The core of Muharrem’s life is his bedrock belief in – and fear of – God.

It is this conscientiousness, honesty and discipline that leads the Sheikh of his convent (in the context of Islam, a religious complex for men) to appoint Muharrem as administrator of its holdings. As Muharrem has shown no interest in material things, surely he is the best one to collect the rents from their forty-three flats, thirty-five shops and seven pieces of land. Muharrem accepts the task with great humility and even some awe, especially when he is provided with a new suit, a beautiful pen, a car with a driver and a cell phone.

Inevitably, Muharrem begins to face ethical situations in the secular world for which his dedication to his religion has not prepared him. Soon, this man of faith loses his spiritual innocence by an act of his own, and his despair sends him spiralling into madness, perhaps never to return.

Takva – A Man’s Fear of God provides extraordinary riches to the viewer. Initially it offers a rarely-seen glimpse into the world of conservative Turkish Muslims, which has a beauty and hypnotic power entirely its own. Then we are drawn into Muharrem’s small universe with its very large questions. Cinematically stunning and skilfully made, the film tackles those important struggles that all too often go unexplored in a complex modern world.

- Jane Schoettle

Özer Kiziltan was born in Istanbul and studied law at the University of Istanbul. Before completing his degree, he left law school in order to study cinema and television at the Mimar Sinan University. He has written and directed several TV shows and award-winning short films, including Distress (90), Caution, Mice (90), Your Eyes Are the Last Passion Fire of Yesilçam (93) and The Last Birds Too Are Gone (94). Takva – A Man’s Fear of God (06) is his debut feature film.

Associated with European Film Promotion,
an initiative supported by the
European Union’s MEDIA Programme.

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