You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Takva — A Man’s Fear Of God

Arichly textured, thoughtful exploration of the hypocrisies inherent when fundamentalists engage in commercial ventures, "Takva -- A Man's Fear of God" reps a strong new voice in Turkish cinema.

With: Erkan Can, Meray Ulgen, Guven Kirac, Erman Saban, Settar Tanriogen, Murat Cemcir, Engin Gunaydin, Mufit Aytekin, Oznur Kula, Hakan Gursoytrak.

Arichly textured, thoughtful exploration of the hypocrisies inherent when fundamentalists engage in commercial ventures, “Takva — A Man’s Fear of God” reps a strong new voice in Turkish cinema. Focusing on a simple man whose administrative job within an Islamic sect sets him spinning adrift from his previously unquestioned moral compass, pic benefits from a stand-out central perf and a finely tuned script (supervised by Fatih Akin, whose Corazon Intl. co-produced) that refuses to condescend to anyone. Helmer Ozer Kiziltan’s bigscreen debut deservedly bagged the lion’s share of prizes at Antalya’s national fest; awards are possible off-shore as well.

Muharrem (the superb Erkan Can) is a man of few needs, his life centering on his religion and his job for sack merchant Ali (Settar Tanriogen). His outlook is as limited as his wardrobe, so it comes as a shock when the leader of his religious sect, the Sheik (Meray Ulgen), asks him to become the rent collector for the sect’s property-rich seminary.

Muharrem’s lack of ambition and worldliness is precisely why he’s been chosen. The Sheik and his right-hand man Rauf (Guven Kirac) “suggest” Ali give Muharrem afternoons off so he can collect rents and see to repairs on the many properties the sect owns throughout Istanbul.

It is also “suggested” that Muharrem move into the seminary’s building, where he’s given suits, a cell phone, and all the accoutrements of a businessman, even a car and driver: “You must reflect the wisdom and the wealth of the Sheik and of the order,” Rauf explains. Fish-outof- water isn’t the half of it.

As he adjusts to his new role, Muharrem visibly changes. Whereas before he lived in a timeless world that could equally be 1926 or 2006, now he confidently strides into shopping malls and ultra-modern offices. When his basic goodness tells him to allow a poor family to skip their rent for a month, the Sheik says this might prevent a student from coming to the seminary.

Increasingly confused and plagued by “sinful” recurring wet dreams, Muharrem’s previously black-and-white existence becomes filled not just with temptation, but with sophistical debates wrapped in opaque religious finery.

In a world currently extra-sensitive to all treatments of Muslim subjects, it should be added that Kiziltan is clearly criticizing a particular strain of fundamentalism that uses a moral sleight-of-hand to reconcile spiritual teaching with capitalism. His target could just as easily be any religious institution.

What really makes “A Man’s Fear of God” stand out is the way Kiziltan enriches his characters through their environment. Muharrem’s life was full of familiar, solid traditions linked to office, tea-shop, mosque and home. His plunge into the contempo world reveals the two sides of Istanbul, and the uneasy struggle that exists between them.

As he changes clothes and transforms from near indentured servitude to a position of respect, thesper Can undergoes a visual physical transformation, carrying his body with a new confidence and spontaneously, if uncomfortably, manifesting a forceful confrontational attitude. With heavy-lidded eyes that beautifully register his painful confusion, Can easily won the best actor award in Antalya.

Visuals are rich and multi-dimensional. Akin’s regular editor Andrew Bird, along with Niko, do an outstanding job of building tension during a music-filled religious ceremony that hits a fever pitch and then jumps to a most unexpected follow-up.

Takva -- A Man's Fear Of God


Production: A Yeni Sinemacilar (Turkey)/Corazon Intl. (Germany) production. (International sales: The Match Factory, Cologne/Munich.) Produced by Sevil Demirci, Onder Cakar, Fatih Akin, Andreas Thiel, Klaus Maeck. Executive producers, Falk H. Nagel, Feridun Koc. Directed by Ozer Kiziltan. Screenplay, Onder Cakar; script supervisor, Fatih Akin.

Crew: Camera (color), Soykut Turan; editors, Andrew Bird, Niko ; music, Gokce Akcelik; art director, Erol Tastan; costume designer, Ayten Senyurt; sound (Dolby Digital), Onur Yavuz; associate producers, Alberto Fanni, Flaminio Zadra, Paolo Colombo, Sarmasik Sanatlar, Baran Seyhan; assistant director, Seren Yuce. Reviewed at Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, Turkey, Sept. 22, 2006. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Erkan Can, Meray Ulgen, Guven Kirac, Erman Saban, Settar Tanriogen, Murat Cemcir, Engin Gunaydin, Mufit Aytekin, Oznur Kula, Hakan Gursoytrak.

More Film

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content