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Kismet: How Turkish Soap Operas Changed the World

2013
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200,New York, NY, 10001; 212-925-0606
Producer n/a
Directed by Nina Maria Paschalidou
DVD , color, 57 min., Turkish, Arabic, Bulgarian and Greek, with English subtitles
College - General Adult
Acting, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Drama, Fiction, Interpersonal Relations, Popular Culture, Rape, Sexual Harassment, Storytelling, Women’s Rights


Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 2/19/2015

Dramas that feature serialized stories about the emotional relationships of multiple characters have long been a staple of television broadcasting in the US and abroad. Like its counterparts around the globe, soap operas produced in Turkey are tremendously popular. With high production values, engaging actors, timeless and timely storylines, these shows regularly attract more than 300 million viewers in 80 countries. Viewed throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, and Asia, Turkish soap operas generate an impressive domestic and export income while also having a social impact on audiences.

Interwoven with clips from a few of the most well-liked soaps, including Muhtesem Yüzyil (Magnificent Century), Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne? (What is Fatmagül's Fault?), Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki (As Time Goes By), Binbir Gece (One Thousand and One Nights), and Gümüs (Noor) are interviews with actors, producers, scholars and viewers. Fans from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey discuss how the characters and stories have affected them personally. By opening discussion about women’s rights issues and portraying another way of living in traditionally conservative societies, Greek journalist and documentatarian Paschalidou reveals that Turkish soap operas also wield a soft power and influence that is opposed by many.

Recommended for women’s studies and media studies audiences as well as general viewers.