Pursuit of Happiness in Turkish Movies

By Oguzhan Dursun

This paper examines Turkish cinema in the second half of the 20th century, focusing on the changes in the protagonists’ perception of happiness. The paper examines these changes in the light of the socio-economic developments in the Turkish society in the studied period, using an interdisciplinary approach. It combines the analytical tools from two disciplines: history and film studies. The paper looks at drama and comedy movies, the building blocks of Turkish cinema, represented by 50 movies for 50 years. The analysis focuses on the narrative structure and the basic dramatic premise of the studied movies. The paper argues that in this period, from 1950 to 2000, the portrayal of happiness in the Turkish cinema changed from society based, to family based, and eventually to an individualistic view. This change is also influenced by the cross-cultural interactions, namely the Hollywood cinema and its conventions. In order to provide a better understanding of this influence, the paper will discuss the socio-economic interactions between the United States and Turkey in this period. In sum, the paper argues that in the second half of the 20th century there is a change in the depiction of happiness in the Turkish cinema, and points to some possible economic, social, and cultural reasons for this change. 

Keywords: emotion, happiness, movies, cinema, film

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