return to the promised land

Treva 2022-11-24 17:15:56

"Dream Turkey Trilogy" is three works released by Turkish director Sammy Kapanogu in 2007, 2008 and 2010: "Egg", "Milk" and "Honey", of which "Honey" won the Berlin Film Festival Gold Bear Award. When it comes to Turkish films, audiences usually think of the works of Nuri Beki Ceylon and Fatiakim. The film industry is a big dark horse.

The protagonist in the "Dream Turkey Trilogy" is also a man named Joseph, in which "Egg", "Milk" and "Honey" respectively tell the story of Joseph's middle age, youth and childhood. "Dream Turkey Trilogy" is a very typical art film. It has a weak story and little dialogue. It uses a lot of long shots and empty shots to create a slow and special narrative atmosphere. Natural light creates a beautiful picture, and uses many symbolic things to connect the story and the meaning behind it.

The meaning of "Dream Turkey Trilogy" is very difficult to understand, and everyone has different opinions on the order of viewing and the references in it. The director himself also refused to talk about it, preferring to leave space to the audience. After watching these three works, I hesitated whether to write down my personal comments and experiences. After all, these three films are extremely small, and they are definitely not works that most moviegoers will be happy to be interested in, and the director left behind The room for understanding is extremely huge, and the words of any family must be both right and wrong. Still, I decided to document my personal understanding, perhaps to find resonance in the crowd.

This is a story from Joseph's childhood, when he was only eight years old and lived with his parents in a small cottage in the mountains. Joseph's father was a honey-gatherer who had to climb to the top of a tree to collect honey, and Joseph's mother was a woman who ran the house. Joseph suffered from severe stuttering and inherited epilepsy from his father. Due to his stuttering, Joseph is extremely introverted. Except for his father, he is isolated from everyone else. He is also extremely alienated from his mother. What Joseph cannot bear is that his mother forces him to drink the milk he hates the most. Joseph often helped his father to gather honey in the forest. The forest not only provided honey for the family to live on, but also the world shared by Joseph and his father. For some inexplicable reason, the beehive beside the house was suddenly empty, and the swarms of bees did not know where to go. My father had to go farther from home to collect honey, and he never came back. As his father left home, Joseph lost his focus, but instead began to develop his independent character. He plucked up the courage to recite the text in class, gave the small wooden boat his father gave to his classmates as compensation for cheating, and drank the milk his mother prepared for him. Just when Joseph finally got the long-awaited little red ribbon from the teacher and rushed home excitedly, the large crowd at the door let him know the bad news of his father. Joseph immediately turned his head and ran into the forest, and finally slept peacefully in the arms of a big tree in the darkness.

In his youth, Joseph and his mother depended on each other for a living, relying on a few dairy cows raised at home. In his youth, Joseph should have found a stable job or joined the army like other young people. However, because of his dream of becoming a poet and chronic epilepsy, he lived at home by his mother selling dairy products. Although Joseph's poems were published in well-known magazines, he could no longer continue to rely on his mother for a balanced life, because he found that her mother was carrying him behind his back with the stationmaster of the post office. At first, Joseph was so angry that he even secretly followed the postmaster to the pond, trying to attack him with rocks while he was hunting waterfowl. But at the last minute, Joseph put down the stone and instead grabbed a huge fish from the pond. Joseph happily carried the fish home, wanting to surprise his mother, but when he came to the door of the house and saw her mother, he knew that the relationship with his mother could no longer be restored. The mother was sitting in a chair, bowing her head and plucking the feathers of an animal, which was a water bird. Joseph finally got a job on a construction site. He was wearing overalls and a work cap. The headlight on the work cap was dazzling, illuminating the night, but not the future.

Joseph is middle-aged and runs a second-hand bookstore in Istanbul alone. The poems he wrote have won awards and have been published, but at this moment he has long stopped writing poems because he does not like what he has written. That night, a phone rang with the news of her mother's passing. Joseph drove home immediately and made arrangements for his mother's funeral. At his mother's house, Joseph met a young girl, Joseph's niece in terms of seniority. From the girl's mouth, she learned that she had been taking care of her mother for some time in the past, and her last words were for Joseph to sacrifice a goat to the Lord for her. After listening to Joseph, he just thought it was ridiculous, and he wanted to leave early. However, the girl insisted on making Joseph fulfill her mother's wish. As a last resort, Joseph had to stay in his hometown for a while longer. In this way, Joseph meets former friends, former lovers, and relatives who have not been in touch for a long time. And through the girl's remarks, bits and pieces of the mother's life gradually emerged, and Joseph re-acquainted with the long-lost mother. This girl is much younger than Joseph, and yearns to go to a university in a big city. During the process of making sacrifices on a distant mountain together, an ambiguous emotion seems to have arisen, and a wedding the two witnessed in the hotel, And Joseph lied about a marriage contract in order to avoid embarrassment to his elderly relatives, which also seemed to herald the possibility of a bright future. When the two finally completed the sacrifice ceremony and returned to their mother's house, the hen in the yard that was no longer laying eggs actually laid intact eggs again.

Although the sequence of the movie's release starts from the protagonist's middle age and tells it backwards to his childhood, the order of viewing does not actually affect the understanding of the movie. In fact, in the process of creation, the director first had the script of "Milk", and then extended the stories of "Egg" and "Honey" forward and backward on this basis. In terms of meaning, "Dream Turkey Trilogy" can be understood from three levels, one is personal level, one is religious level, and the other is political level.

personal level
The name Joseph is a very common male name among Muslims, and honey, milk and eggs are common foods in daily life among Turks. Therefore, what is presented in the film, on a personal level, is the growth process of a Turkish male: independence from the shadow of his father, separation from the attachment of his mother, returning home after a long voyage and regaining family, friendship and love. . In this trilogy, as the times change, the audience witnesses the changes in the Turkish living environment and the inner growth of Joseph.

During his childhood, Joseph lived in a remote mountain with wooden houses and simple equipment. At this moment, his mood was childish and closed, and he was ignorant about life, family and friendship. But in any case, when life changes came, it pushed Joseph to grow up. When he was young, the place where Joseph lived was already a concrete building with corresponding modern equipment. At this time, he had to face the problem of ideal and reality, and he had to cut off his dependence on his mother in the process of exploring love, no matter whether Joseph was ready or not. Well, all must move forward. In middle age, dreams and reality are all thrown behind and turned into bubbles of life, but no matter how far you go, the call of family and hometown reverberates, just like Joseph no longer writes poetry, No one can abandon the past and achieve today. The progress of life takes everyone to a distant place, but the emotions and memories of the past are always waiting for reckoning. So Joseph, who had been lost in the city, returned to his hometown, and returned to the past one by one. Through the ritual of sacrifice, he reconciled with his dead mother, and thus was able to continue his future journey.

Religious aspect
Turkey is an Islamic country, and many symbolic things with religious meaning appear in the film, including honey, milk, snakes, fish, dreams, wells, and sacrifices. Although generally less is known about the Islamic classics, the Koran, the meaning of these things can still be largely parsed through the content of the Old Testament.

The name Joseph (Yusuf), in addition to being a common masculine name among Muslims, was also the name of the great-grandson of Abraham, the ancestor of the Arabs and Hebrews. According to the record, the Lord promised to give Abraham a "promised land", a place flowing with milk and honey, but he had to pass various tests along the way. In the face of various temptations, Abraham's great-grandson Joseph's choices had a crucial impact on his subsequent return to the Promised Land.

In "Honey", the childhood Joseph faced the dilemma of disappearing bees and depleting food, and because of the death of his father, he could only rely on his mother and "milk" to survive. In the youth's "Milk", snakes appear many times, which means temptation, which must be repelled with fresh milk. In between, milk and mother represent faith, which Joseph should not turn his back on. At the end of "Milk", Joseph brought back a large fish from the pond, but it was not an ordinary fish, but a catfish. According to the Lord's instructions, fish without scales were not edible, so when Joseph was in At the edge of the pond, he wanted to hurt people with stones and bring back the catfish, symbolizing that he had been lost in the temptation. Therefore, at the beginning of "The Egg", a woman is lost in the mist, and after returning home, Joseph, under the guidance of a girl who resembles and understands her mother, re-acquaints her mother and gradually returns to the right path. The egg in the film represents the origin of life and the continuation of life. Therefore, Joseph saw the bird's egg fell from his hand and broke in his dream, and finally took the new egg from the girl's hand, symbolizing the end and rebirth respectively. As for the sacrifice of goats, according to the scriptures, the Lord had asked Abraham to sacrifice his own son. After Abraham obeyed his will, the Lord finally replaced the goat with a goat. Therefore, the sacrifice symbolized repentance and glory to the Lord, and represented the belief in faith. return.

At the end of "Honey" and "Egg", Joseph rests in the darkness, but his expression is serene, because he drank his mother's "milk" and fulfilled his mother's last wish to sacrifice to the Lord, but in "Milk" , Although Joseph stood in the light, his expression was at a loss, because at this moment he had already lost his faith. In the trilogy, strange dreams appear again and again. According to religious records, dreams are the means used by the Lord to convey his will, so each dream reminds Joseph of the predicament and the guidance of the Lord, such as the death of his father, being trapped in Deep wells, broken eggs. As for the meaning of the well, it should be related to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Joseph's grandfather. Isaac was a well digger. He dug many wells according to his father's instructions, but after his father died, these wells were filled by the enemy. However, Isaac was not discouraged, and continued to dig the well, and thus received the blessing of the Lord, expressing his determination to defy hardship and return to the Promised Land. The old man who catches snakes and digs wells in the film represents the transmission of guidance to Joseph, but Joseph is still tempted by snakes and trapped in wells until he finally wakes up.

Therefore, from the religious level, "Dream Turkey Trilogy" tells that in the process of the progress of the times, contemporary Turks are gradually tempted by the outside world to deviate from religion. This kind of deviation and betrayal will inevitably lead to the exhaustion of the soul and the decline of life. Only by returning to religious belief and devoting one's sincerity to the Lord can the future be continued and the promise of milk and honey can be reached. place.

Political level
From the political level, it involves Turkey's position in modern international relations. If the Israeli issue is the trigger for the Middle East issue, then the Gulf War triggered by the US invasion of Iraq was the tipping point for the Islamic countries to break with the Western world. In the Gulf War, Turkey's position played a very crucial role. Because Turkey decided to open its air base to the United States, a large number of American bombers could launch a large-scale attack on Iraq, which also made the war begin and end. Therefore, it is very unacceptable for many Turkish Muslims to turn to the United States and turn their backs on Islamic countries, which is very similar to Egypt.

Therefore, "Dream Turkey Trilogy" alludes to Turkey through Joseph, the snake and the prosperous city represent the Western world, and the milk and the mother represent Islam. Joseph was born weak due to the chronic disease of epilepsy, and Turkey, because of the fear of poverty and hunger, failed to resist the temptation and adhere to the faith, and both abandoned Islamic teachings and lost in the chaotic and prosperous cities and the Western world. At the beginning of "The Egg", a traditional woman in a turban is lost in the fog, followed by a staggering woman in a dress walking into Joseph's bookstore late at night, exchanging a bottle of red wine for one in the store. This traditional Turkish recipe, when Joseph agreed without hesitation, came the news of his mother's death. It conveys the meaning of loss, betrayal and desperation. When Joseph deviates from his faith and his hometown, he is faced with the exhaustion of talent and the difficulties of life. In the same way, after taking refuge in the West, Turkey did not find a way out, and some were just disillusioned with ideals. Only by obeying the mother's last words, offering sacrifices to the Lord, cutting off the temptation of the West, and returning to the embrace of the Islamic world, can we return to the right path and continue the future. Otherwise, what awaits Turkey will not be the promised land flowing with milk and honey, but a hopeless and desperate situation.

■"Dream Turkey Trilogy" is a typical art film, there are different possibilities of understanding, each viewer will have his own interpretation, no interpretation is right or wrong, and this is the characteristic of a good film, Leave a lot of room for people to think about.

View more about Bal reviews

Extended Reading

Bal quotes

  • Yakup: Dreams are not told aloud.