How Germany Politicize Turkish Motion Picture Ratings

When the Turkish movie Can Feda was set to hit the theaters in Germany, the producers were probably hoping to bank in on the popularity of leading actor, Burak Ozcivit, a playboy figure of Turkish night life scene at the time. However, the movie was rated +18 by the German motion picture rating organization FSK and many of Ozcivit’s teenager fans could not even enter the gala screening. The producers and the cast was shocked but the worst has yet to come. The movie, which told the story of an elite special force of the Turkish Army was later banned by FSK.

Being a war movie, Can Feda was not any more violent than many American movies shown at the theaters through out Germany according to those who have seen the movie. However, German authorities preferred to ban the movie for having one or two Nazi scenes acccording to Turkish media. The lingering question is why does FSK easily ban Turkish movies while allowing more violent American movies run through. Or what could even be worse is could this attitude toward Turkish movies by the German authorities be systematic and politically motivated?

‘It actually depends on the message of the movie,” says 31 year old Yasemin who asked her last name not be revealed. She studied cinema at one of the finest universities of Germany. Although, she does not work in the sector now, she closely follows what goes on especially about Turkish movies in Germany. “If it is a left leaning movie, thrown in some visual subliminal messages like a picture of an iconic communist late actor, your movie would easily be rated for the general audience in Germany,” Yasemin claimed with her near-perfect Turkish despite being born and raised in Germany.

It was sort of the case for the one of the most popular recent movies of the Turkish cinema: Muslum Baba. The movie contained immense drinking, stabbing and domestic violence scenes, but it was classified for the general audience by FSK. “You could easily spot the kind of messages I am talking about in Muslum Baba,” said Yasemin.

So is the German motion picture authority then targeting only Turkish movies that are more right leaning or convey nationalist sentiments?

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Deliler: Fatihin Fermani movie poster

Booming Turkish cinema sector produced another epic movie recently named Deliler: Fatih’in Fermanı. The movie gathered more than 2 million viewers in 2 weeks of time which is a quite big number for the population of 82 million. It tells a story about famous Ottoman Sultan Fatih sultan Mehmet who conquered Istanbul. After his envoy to the Romanian king gets murdered, Fatih sends a group of fearless elite soldiers to assassinate the Romanian king.

German motion picture rating agency FSK once again took up arms towards a Turkish movie which conveys pride of magnificent Turkish history. The movie was rated +18 by FSK which came as a surprise to the cast and the producers. One of the leading actors in the movie, Cem Ucan, reminded that extremely violent movies like Braveheart, 300 spartans have been rated +16 by FSK in the past. “This movie was rated +18 for extreme violence and extreme nationalism. It is just absurd,” Ucan continued.

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