• Publication date: April 19, 2011

Propaganda Propaganda

Anyone who has been stuck in bureaucratic limbo can attest that the experience ...

Anyone who has been stuck in bureaucratic limbo can attest that the experience is often worse than outright tyranny, especially when it is void of common sense or any meaningful organization. Propaganda is an extreme, comedic but generally accurate testament to that fact. Veteran Turkish actor Kemal Sunal portrays Mehdi, a dedicated and extremely patriotic civil servant living near the newly defined Turkish-Syrian border. Mehdi has been commissioned by authorities in Ankara to oversee the small village's border patrol and customs agency. The entire town is initially excited by the checkpoint's construction. A train carrying 1800 rolls of barbed wire provides a strange sort of amusement, and constructing the fence kept residents preoccupied in the otherwise boring village. At a party celebrating the border's completion it became evident that the townsfolk really had no idea what the checkpoint's purpose was. When the villagers asked Mehdi about the crossing's function he was baffled, and assumed that managing customs had cultural, not material implications. For decades families on the Syrian side of the border attended school on its Turkish side; families intermarried between both sides and relied upon their respective services. The villagers walked and associated freely with one another, rarely if ever thinking of any artificial, manmade boundaries. The first individual to be affected by the border was the school's elementary teacher, who lived on the Syrian side of the border, but taught on the Turkish side. Without an illusive thing called a passport, she was not allowed to enter, and during the following months education in the village came to a halt. This caused Mehdi's childhood friend, Rahim (Metin Akpınar) to intervene. The two men were closer than brothers and it devastated Mehdi to deny his best friend entry. He too would need to acquire a passport, not something the common man could easily obtain then. The couple initially hurt the most by the partition, however, was Mehdi's son Âdem (Rafet El Roman) and Rahim's daughter, Filiz (Meltem Cumbul). Âdem and Filiz were on the verge of marrying, and both had intense love for one another that refused to keep them apart. Filiz's sadness and yearning for her fiance causes Rahim to take drastic measures against his friend, who remains stubbornly loyal to the state even if it means wounding his own son. Propaganda was well-received by Turkish and non-Turkish audiences alike, earning awards in both its native land and Germany. The picture is based upon a true story, and filmed on location near the Syrian border in Hatay, Turkey. Rating: N/A