The Virgin of Stamboul (1920)

  |  Drama

The Virgin of Stamboul (1920) Poster

Achmet Bey, a Turkish chieftain, catches one of his many wives in adultery and murders her lover. Throwing aside the cuckolding wife, he abducts his harem an innocent girl. However, a brave... See full summary »


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18 April 2010 | mbkalkan
| Interesting but full of misconceptions
To watch the city that you live in, some 90 years past... To see it before the very next page in history was turned... To see the way how your ancestors were viewed and perceived by other cultures/people/artists again some 90 years past... To observe how their lives and points of view were depicted in a piece of art, somehow stereotypically and wrongly at that. All these aspects, in and of themselves, made this one film a very valuable experience and an important premise. To see a movie of the silent movies era, a movie 90 years prior, and the first movie to be produced in the city, was also beyond joy.

The movie, though, was not without some major misconceptions and conveniences. For instance, to ride a camel from the Arabian deserts to Istanbul appeared to be a very easy task indeed, as if one was just next door to the other. Run and chase sequences were shot as if this was an Oriental Western, a contradiction in itself. Customs and traditions of a people were again somewhat exaggerated or bent a little bit here and there so as to fit the flow of the movie. Last but not least, the physical struggles between the characters were either exaggerated in one scene or downplayed in another so as to achieve a desirable result, which made the movie a bit funnier when compared to some of its contemporary counterparts.

All in all, though, it was still a great joy to see this movie, knowing full well that such discrepancies and prejudices were to be expected, and that I may never ever get another chance to see it elsewhere. In the end, this was the early 1920s -in fact, 1920 itself- and the movie was one of the earlier examples of an art form just blossoming, an example which was conceived some 3 km away from my house, but nearly a century ago, at that. Well, what else could I have asked for?

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