Spectacle | 124 South 3rd Street
THE BRIDE OF THE EARTH
a.k.a. Seyyit Han
Dir. Yılmaz Güney, 1968
Turkey, 81 min.
In Turkish with new English subtitles by Spectacle
After making his directorial debut with HORSE, WOMAN, GUN in 1966 and establishing his own production company, Güney Filmcilik, in 1968, Güney made THE BRIDE OF THE EARTH, a tale of love and revenge that brings together the gun-slinging virtuosity of the Ugly King and the plight of the backwards Turkish peasantry.
The stone-faced Seyyit Han has a sweetheart waiting for him in his home village. Years ago, reluctant to condemn her to a life of hardship, he set out to kill all his enemies and promised to return for her. Now, after a seven-year prison sentence, Han returns to find a wedding in progress: his bride-to-be has been promised to a prominent man in the village by her impatient brother. Han’s bitterness and his bride’s suicidal despondency culminate in her tragic death and Han’s vengeance, which he exacts by becoming an inexorable killing machine fueled by his hurt pride, taking out the groom and his henchmen one by one.
THE BRIDE OF THE EARTH dramatizes the subjugation of women through the feudal marriage practices of rural Turkey by cloaking it in a pulse-pounding pseudo-Western shoot-em-up that satisfies our craving for sub-proletarian justice. It is widely considered the first film with Kurdish main characters and can be read as a metaphor for the struggle of the Kurds against oppressive tribal traditions and Turkish landlords.
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