Özer Kiziltan – Takva aka A Man’s Fear Of God (2006)

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A man’s fight between his religious beliefes and his instincts and desires. The atmosphere during the religious ceremonies makes a thrilling contrast to the priest’s everydays somehow dirty business in Istanbul where all is only about money. For the viewer these contrasts are sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking. The not-too-bright main character Muharrem is played by the fantastic Erkan Can. The director manages to show Muharrem’s troubled emotions in fantastic pictures. In one of my favourite scenes Muharrem is almost haunted by display mannequins wearing sexy lingerie while he is on duty for his brotherhood.
–totorochi

Humble and introvert Muharrem lives in a solitary and meager existence of a prayer and sexual abstinence adhering strictly to the most severe Islamıc doctrines.He 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.

Review from imdb by Oliver_kontny:

Takva – A Man’s Fear of God is one of those films that playfully enact conflicts of fundamental importance for the world we live in. Takva starts off with humble Muharrem, an introverted single man living in Istanbul, being drawn into the inner circle of a Muslim brotherhood he has adhered to ever since his childhood days. When the erudite and strikingly pragmatic leader, Sheikh Cemal, appoints him as his financial organizer, Muharrem gets endowed with all the amenities and trappings of a modern world businessman. He has to collect rent and administer the order’s finances. His naive will to live a life according to what he thinks is the will of God clashes not only with his unfulfilled sexual desires, but also with the mechanisms of power within the order. The brothers’ lifestyle may be conservative, but they run an organization that is fully intertwined with the present day social, political and economic life of Turkey.

For Muharrem, who hardly understands any of this business, this means that every step he intends to make for the greater glory of God draws him ever deeper into the quagmire of corruption, lies and hypocrisy. The authority he is endowed with now makes him haughty and difficult to deal with, while his accumulated frustration increasingly throws him into literal fits. Everything escalates when he comes face to face with the woman he desires…

The plot for this great film is based on an old folk tale from Turkey about a man who refuses to marry the daughter of his spiritual master although he clearly loves her. In Onder Cakar and Omer Kiziltan’s adaptation, the narrative serves to expose the inner mechanisms of puritan Muslim orders and throw light on the mental set-up of its loyal members. The film is pure fun to watch due to countless instances of great irony, a remarkable love for detail and breathtaking scenes of ecstatic rituals. While the filmmakers were very careful not to ridicule the milieu they’re depicting, their critical approach accounts for a film that substantially helps understand the way political Islam “works”.

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Language:Turkish
Subtitles:: English (sub + idx)

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