Recently I saw the Fetih 1453 movie. For the people that do not know what is this … well, it is a historic movie made by Turkish cinema about the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. It is full of special effects and it aims to revive the Ottoman glory.
The story is set in the 1453 (and few years earlier). The movie start with a prophecy that a strong ruler will rise and the Ottoman Empire will be the biggest. Then continue with some background of the historical and personal aspects of Mehmet sultan. Then for almost 1 hour the battle of Constantinople.
The movie is very long, approx 2.5 hours. It has some action scene but also some boring scene.
I think the director of this movie wanted to show too much in too little time. So it give the impression that is a gathering of scenes and episodes and it may be hard to follow for the people that do not have historical background.
My personal remarks are mainly about the historical accuracy of the events and the propaganda and Turkish heroism.
I want to remark first the clear difference and superiority of the Turks in compare will all other nations ( Byzantines and Vatican ). In may scenes the byzantine emperor is shown in company of party girls while the sultan is only with his wife and kid. The images are idealized so that it will look very patriotic. The amusing part for me was that the sultan had time to write poetry to his wife as a goodbye gift before going to war. I do not doubt the fact that the sultan may write poetry , but the scene was exaggerated.
Then the scenes in which the sultan fight with sword or hunts with bow and arrow… please.. it looks better that in the Robin Hood propaganda movies ! Basically , to be short, this propaganda movie want to show that the sultan was perfect: best soldier , best father, best husband ( where is the harem ??) best politician, wise, patient and stubborn. Too many qualities for a single person. If we read some history we see other things. But I will not enter now in the polemic with this propaganda movie.
The other important scenes are the ones with Byzantine people, from simple people to the Emperor. The decoration are somehow realistic, but it is visible that the historical truth is “modeled” for the Turkish viewers. The byzantine rooms look big but miss essential decoration, like icons, mosaics, colors, crosses. It may be understandable that do to limited budget this details are lost. Or maybe do to Muslim rules it is not pleasant to show crosses or other orthodox symbols. Funny thing is that the actors say many bad words to the “turks unbelievers”. So the Turkish viewers are motivated to hate the byzantine enemies 🙂
The scenes with Vatican people ( Pope and his followers) are also realistic. It is showing one true historical truth: the fact that Byzantine empire was in danger not only because of the turks but also because of the Vatican then wanted to impose the Catholic reign over Orthodox Church. And the movie show a real tension inside the Orthodox people that were more afraid of Catholics rather than Ottoman enemy.
The funny part was that in all scenes where the Pope was blessing his cardinals, the Pope made the cross like Orthodox and not like Catholics. It is a small detail, but it may rise questions if the movie is shown to Christian people. Probably for Muslim population it is ok, since they may not know the difference.
Then about the big cannon. Indeed this was real and was the main reason the Turks breached the Constantinople walls. But the romantic story is exaggerated. I mean the girl for that role is too ugly to start such a romantic affair. I do not understand it ! Turks have such nice girls and they choose one ugly girl, for such a big role.
The scenes with Crusaders murdering her family are strange since the girl should have hatted Catholics ( Crusaders) and not Byzantine people. But again I think that here is intended confusion between Catholics and Orthodox people made on purpose just to emphasize the movie plot.
The final scenes are completely out of historic sync, since the Turks enter peacefully in Saint Sophia Church and nobody dies. Even the Sultan kiss a small girl. Please ! the history say then after days and days of slaughter the sultan said that the building should not be destroyed but transformed in mosque ( probably he was thinking that it will cost too much to rebuild it from scratch),.
So my opinion is that this movie was made for pure propaganda and mainly for the Turks viewers.
It is actually a big trend in Turkey to revive the old Ottoman memories and to search for the former glory.