The Lebanese Issue With Fetih 1453

Fetih 1453 is a Turkish movie that was briefly released in Lebanese cinemas last week before meeting outrage from Greek Orthodox Christians due to its “historically incorrect” and defamatory content.

The movie has since, of course, been banned.

I won’t go endlessly about the uselessness of bans and how I’m officially against banning anything, etc, bla bla bla. You don’t want to waste your time reading it and I’m frankly tired of sounding like a broken record with this happening frequently lately.

Having said that, I do have an issue with Fetih 1453. Let’s call it the Lebanese Turkish obsession.

I don’t like Lebanese people watching Syrian-dubbed Turkish endless dramas. It was “funny” to see the Nour craze (this still makes me cringe). But when it started moving towards twenty five series per second on every single channel on TV, it became frankly nauseating.

And yet those series still find an audience. So I figured housewives and school children must be bored. The former don’t get access or can’t read Fifty Shades of Grey and the latter haven’t discovered porn yet. And it’s fine – it’s just something free and silly for them to watch.

However, I have to ask: Why did a Turkish movie get a wide release and such intensive publicity in Lebanon to begin with?

It’s not because the movie is a foreign movie. The world has about 200 countries, many of which produce cinema. I don’t see Latvian movies getting wide releases here.

It’s not because Turkey is a nearby country. I’m pretty sure Greece has movie offerings as well and we don’t get those.

It’s not because the cinema in Turkey is such an attraction. If anything, why not bring Bollywood movies? For the record, please don’t.

We don’t know the Turkish language. Most of us (I’d say all but who knows) don’t want to learn the language. Many other cinematic offerings by other more cinematically “significant” countries never see the light of day at our cinemas. And yet someone decided that this Turkish movie was such a cinematic jewel that we couldn’t live without it.

A Separation,” a movie that by all accounts is near a masterpiece, didn’t even get a wide release here. Let alone all the billboards announcing it. And that movie is Iranian, so another neighbor whose number we don’t understand and who’s politically involved with us.

Do Lebanese movies get the same treatment in Turkey? Our movies don’t even get the same reception in Egypt that Egyptian movies get over here.

Moreover, didn’t anyone stop for a second and think what would the Lebanese Armenians think about a Turkish movie being released in Lebanon? Why don’t we bring Armenian movies to Lebanon instead? At least there are people here who’d go watch them without needing the subtitles.

It would have been much better for Fetih 1453 to be incorporated in one of the many movie festivals we get over here. Lebanese movie distributors should either be fair in bringing movies here or just keep the regular formula that honestly seems to work: bring the American and French. Leave out the rest. Sprinkle some Lebanese Nadine Labaki occasional seasoning on top. And that’s it.