What’s Goin’ on in the Back Streets? Patriarchal and Authoritarian Mentality in Contemporary Turkish Cinema

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Author: Murat İri, Istanbul University, Turkey
Published: August 2013
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.1.1.03

Citation: İri, M. (2013). What’s Goin’ on in the Back Streets? Patriarchal and Authoritarian Mentality in Contemporary Turkish Cinema. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.1.1.03


Abstract

This article analyses the popular contemporary Turkish films Çakal, Ejder Kapani, Kara Köpekler Havlarken and Bornova Bornova. These works build representations that reconstruct the patriarchal and authoritarian mentality – arguably deeply embedded in Turkish history, culture and society – in an unmitigated way. In each film, the streets are noticeably prominent and men are firmly at the centre of the plot. All of the main characters, victims and perpetrators alike, are representative of a certain kind of Turkish male – policemen, taxi drivers, the unemployed, carpenters, private security guards, car park attendants, pigeon breeders and imams. They are all heterosexual, Sunni Muslims and Turkish from the lower or middle classes. In spite of the fact that the back streets of Turkish cities are the site of violence, confrontation and punishment, and that the male protagonists are themselves victims of other men’s brutality, it is still good to be a male in Turkey. The films analysed can thus be shown to simultaneously celebrate and condemn the patriarchal and authoritarian mentality.

Keywords

patriarchy, authoritarian mentality, contemporary Turkish cinema, gender