G.O.R.A.

The title of the webpage linked above is “G.O.R.A – A SPACE MOVIE” and this reflects the originality of the film.

Cem Yilmaz’s (Vizyontele) latest movie, G.O.R.A., had its premiere across Turkey on Friday. That night, Orhan and I went to the Metro cinema in Pozcu to see the film. The 9 pm session was sold out so we walked into town and eventually entered the 10.20 pm session at Boyner (formerly Carsi) cinema. G.O.R.A. was heavily hyped in Turkey and Orhan spoke about how it was meant to break records.

G.O.R.A. is set in both space and another planet. The movie is in Turkish and the comedy was less visual and the faster than Vizontele so I could not understand much. I was also very tired and slept through a great deal of both halves (movies have a break in Turkey). What I did see was enough to form some conclusions.

G.O.R.A. has several product placements, including AVEA (the company formed by the merger of Aycell and Aria), a major backer of the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if a cigarette company was also backing the film as the lead character pulled out a cigarette to smoke many times.

Think of Star Trek (or any 1980s sci-fi series) with a dash of Lord Of The Rings and a Turkish twist. This is G.O.R.A. The costumes, stereotypes, cliches and plot were stuff of b-grade legends. If the film had a saviour it was the Turkish twist. The carpet selling, coffee grounds fortune telling, sucuk (spicy sausage) growing on trees and other Turkish culture examples did give the film a sense of originality and would be funny for people who have visited Turkey.

Of course the film with English subtitles and a more awake Joe would have improved the film but I don’t think anything was going to save G.O.R.A. completely.

It was 12.30 am before we left the cinema. The streets were largely deserted except for some bank workers finally leaving the office and random small groups of men chatting in parks or at taxi ranks. As Ramazan did not finish until the following evening (Saturday), the streets displayed no evidence of people partying or having a good time. One of the retail shops had already got into the New Turkish Lira spirit and was advertising a 70 cm television for 460 YTL, the equivalent of 460,000,000 TRL. The lack of numbers displayed (only 3) seemed startling.

Orhan and I went our separate ways, walking home to different parts of town. I walked across Republic Square. The night felt liberating. In the background the whir of a coastguard helicopter at the nearby military base could be heard. In Camlibel, I passed the flack-jacketed policeman guarding an official building. The policeman seemed tense. A little further down the road a man slept and snored on a park bench. Before long, I arrived home and that was the night.