What Happens in the Absence of Happiness?

A Case Study: The Opposite of Happiness in Turkish Movies

in the Second Half of 20th Century

By Oguzhan Dursun


This presentation combines tools of history and film studies to examine the emotions of characters in 50 Turkish films released between 1950 and 2000. Focusing on the narrative structure and the basic dramatic premise of these movies, the study investigates what happens in the absence of happiness and if this absence reveals an embodiment of a typical opposite emotion in the diegetic universe of protagonists and antagonists. The study analyzes the emerging opposite emotions, such as anxiety or sadness, that characters experience during their pursuit of happiness and/or if they fail to find happiness, looking for patterns or randomness in the concentration of particular opposite emotions. The study argues that in the diegetic universe of the movies emotions form a system of binary opposites, and that in the absence of a particular emotion film characters experience its opposite rather than having a neutral state of mind. Additionally, the emotions of the protagonist and the antagonist may be each other’s opposites. For example, the occasions when the villain is happy are found as a reflection of the opposite emotion on the protagonist. This work questions the nature of emotions in the context of film narratives by benefiting from emotion studies.

Keywords: happiness, change, absence, opposite, emotion, movies, film

One response to “What Happens in the Absence of Happiness?”

  1. […] • What Happens in the Absence of Happiness? […]


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