Propaganda Poster

Propaganda (1999)

Comedy | History 
Rayting:   7.1/10 8910 votes
Country: Turkey
Language: English

Based on a true story set in 1948, customs officer Mehti is faced with the duty of formally setting up the border between Turkey and Syria, dividing his hometown. He is unaware of the pain ...

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

neildm 12 February 2006

This is a great film in its own right. I have seen quite a few Turkish films, and this is certainly one of the best. The dialogue is witty, the story-line touching and the historicity of the film touches an area many of us never think of - the development of borders through the middle east.

You can feel for Medhi as he struggles with the dichotomy he faces, the competing pressures make for both difficult choices and black humour. Though there are laugh out loud moments too.

Turkish cinema can be difficult for many Westerns, but this film is not one of these.

A great film - I promise you will enjoy it.

valeria_petit 17 November 2003

PROPAGANDA is based on a true story that happened in Turkey in 1948. The newly appointed customs officer, Mehdi, comes back to his native village of Hislinisar with an order from Ankara to build a border to separate Turkey from it's Syrian enemies.

The only problem is that the village's only doctor, teacher and prostitute live on the other side, therefore in Syria. Despite this huge mistake, the civil servants blindly obey Ankara's orders without informing the villagers. Soon, the families from the other side, who used to coexist with the other villagers, can only enter Hislinisar with a passport that they can't get. Just like the Berlin Wall, these fences will separate friends, lovers and even sheep. Mehdi has to learn to enforce the law at the detriment of his marriage and friendships.

This movie is hilarious. The ways that Mehdi and the villagers deal with this new border are really funny even though the impact it ultimately has on them is really sad. Overall it's a really refreshing movie.

I gave it a 9/10. I saw it in Turkish with french subtitles. If you ever get a chance to see this great Sinan Cetin film, please do so, it's worth it!

The_Crow_I 12 August 2003

In 1948, the borderline in Eastern Turkey is drawn right through a small village. Friends and lovers are separated, blind bureaucrats are taking over and everyone - even the bureaucrats - has too deal with this new age they are not yet ready for, in their naive way.

I really loved this movie and in my humble opinion it is one of the best Turkish pictures ever. It depicts the warmth and passion of the Turkish temperament, although it is a sarcastic comment on stubborn bureaucracy, not only in Turkey but everywhere! The cast is great with the beloved Kemal Sunal (died much too early like all good people) and the wonderful Metin Akpinar. They both are comedians who are usually playing funny, often touching parts with a moral-lesson, like to learn what the really important things in life are.

It is indeed a realistic picture, because in the 1940's people who thought they were neighbors were separated this way. Everyone handles this situation in a very naive way; even the officers do not really know what a passport looks like, because everything is so new. As for the pregnant girl who is still accepted by her family although she is not married: I am sure even in those days there were people who were not so dumb and stubborn to put family honor above love for the family members. The father-character portrait by Akpinar is a simple but wise man, who is loyal to his beloved ones.

One last point: This is a modern movie about old Turkey, so you get a bit of both worlds. You find the positive stereotypes as well as the negative ones. Half the Turkish population are modern, western-oriented people, who are aware of their own culture, but also open to others. The fanatic-islamist people are stubborn and intolerant and as such a group you can find anywhere in the world, and they will always be there, as you see in this movie. We should end all prejudices for a better tomorrow! But with each passing day, this feat seems to be more out of reach than ever. What a shame!

It_Girl 8 December 1999

Based on a true story: in 1948, customs officer Mehdi has to formally set up the border between Turkey and Syria right through his home town. He is unaware of the pain he is about to create as families, languages, cultures and lovers clash and are ripped apart in a nation which feels as ONE. Furthermore, the new border also leads to the separation of Mehdi from his best friend Rahim who is the most important man in town: the only doctor.

turkam 7 October 2004

I have seen Sinan Cetin's "Propaganda" three times. As a Turkish-American, it is very hard to see films like these at times and a number, like Yesim Ustaolgu's "Gunese Yolculuk/Journey to the Sun" and Zeki Demirkubuz's "Itiraf/The Confession," have alluded me. But, "Propganda" is gentle, yet politically sharp fable. Kemal Sunal, a great Turkish comic actor, moves away from the slpastick that made him an idol and gives a very touching performance here. Metin Akpinar, who was part of a famous duo with Zeki Alasya, is also quite good here. The film deals with Turkish-Kurdish problems which a number of dramas like Yilmaz Guney's "Suru/The Herd" (1978) have dealt with in much more direct fashions. But, unlike Guney's films, "Propaganda" is an all too rare positive film about Turkey. The film admits there are problems in Turkey, but it shows that the spirit of the Turkish people can overcome such obstacles. I do admire Guney, Ali Ozgenturk, Serif Goren, and Zeki Okten. They are great Turkish/Kurdish filmmakers who have made some of the best films in Turkish history. But, it is good to see a Turkish film which has hope and resolve in it. I think this is an underrated film, and is worhty of more deserving praise that it seems to have received.

Tolga-3 27 January 2000

Well another Box-Office Film in Turkey: Propaganda. I think it was one of the films in which you realise that your work is not always so important as your friends. Especially when it's your friend from your childhood and your son is going to marry his daughter. The movie had sacharastic Fun and some Drama in it which is a mark for Sinan Cetin. Well watch the Movie and see it for your self. I give it a rating of 9 points.

ulnoyman 15 April 2007

Propaganda is another failed attempt by Sinan Cetin to make decent, above-average movie. The experience and talent of the cast list seems to give him a head-start in Propaganda, but he squanders this credit with usual sloppiness and lack of imagination. Even so, Propaganda is not as unwatchable as his older movies.

Sinan Cetin is a spoiled, pretentious, unimaginative demagogue with no decent story-telling skills, and he generally builds his movies around empty, overly-populist, lumpen, pseudo-critiques of the 'system'. He is a consistently bad director, and his movies must be avoided at all costs.

Propaganda, fails miserably especially at the finale, where Cetin once again plays his cheap demagogical tune with a 'rally around the flag' trick with no subtlety, no wit, and certainly with no success.

To be honest, Propaganda is Cetin's best work (which is sad). So if you really need to have an idea of him, watch this one.

bob998 11 April 2005

Sinan Cetin, on the evidence of this film, seems to be a follower of the Norman Jewison tradition of romantic comedy; I thought of The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming, The Fiddler on the Roof, Moonstruck... Cetin knows how to milk a situation for pathos, and to get good performances from his actors.

Kemal Sunal as Mehdi gives a wonderfully funny and touching performance as the civil servant who can't see where his rigid and unimaginative application of the rules is taking him and the village. When his wife declares that the border runs through their bed from now on, all he can do is sigh fatalistically. Metin Akpinar is splendid as Rahim, the doctor and life-long friend to Mehdi--he reminded me of Topol at times.

The blend of Romeo and Juliet, Kafka and Hollywood formula comedy will not work for all viewers, but I was greatly entertained.

cemkilicarslan 25 March 2000

I watched the movie on Cd last night and cannot believe again the poor handling of the topic by the most-pretentious director of Turkey who just happens to be hosting a sopa-opera-style TV show where separated couples are brought together (tears to my eyes...). The director has the notorious background of imitating Hollywood style and making films which do not have the depth a work of cinema should have in order to be considered as a work of art. My criticism for "Eskiya" applies to this movies also: The movie is more a critic of the Turkish bureaucracy rather that a commment on the Southeastern life. The film is quite unrealistic and it seems as if the degree of such an unrealism is the director's struggle to add some comic relief, a funny dimension to the movie. However what happens is a bad mixture of failed surrealism (yes.. remember the barren landscape and Colorado-runaway-plot and pregnant-but-acceptable-girl) with far-fetched social commentary. The film ends with the most ridiculous eway it could do. You cannot help but ask what will happen when they break the border. You do not leave the theatre relieved but rather with a more troubled and worried mind. What's more I guess the performance problems of Kemal Sunal is much more serious that that of the film itself. He seems to have ended his career artistically with this movie ( I do not mention Cumbul and El Roman who even did not start serious artistic careers at all). His acting lacks enthusiasm and is artificial. Do not expect to see the Saban performances. I could go on forever talking about the gaps in the plot, errors in cut and badly done act and cinematography problems. At the bottom this movie is a good example of how you can start with good actors, a good story, a good director of photography, nice setting but end up messing them all. The director Çetin's appearance and his mock-Kurdish speech later mixed with English cuss-words reveal that the movie is not serious at all. Sorry for those who liked it but this is just another Sinan Çetin moviewhich tries to reach fame with a quick gathering of few popular names rather than focusing on the artistic and cinematographic quality.

behramkale 17 June 2001

I am amazed at the number of things this director must have thought he could get away with. The events in the movie just cannot take place the way they are portrayed, and there are too many of them. The basic plot is an impossible one: I can understand a town being divided geographically by the new border, but not the story that some of its people would be left on the other side (and by force). The love story in the movie smells Hollywood, it just does not belong in a Southeastern Anatolian town. The ending is totally ridiculous. There are several "inside" jokes in the movie that for example a foreign spectator would not get, and their presence makes you think the director was not serious at all. The ambitious and job-conscious civil servant character is drawn in a heavy handed manner and disturbs as to the motivation of the director. Propaganda made me think that its director is a half-intellectual opportunist who has no respect for his own work. This movie is a total waste of time.

Firas 25 January 2000

I liked this movie in general. It is funny and it mocked of bureaucracy in particular. Anyhow some things were not really realistic. I can't imagine that in a such rural society in west Asia a pregnant girl before marriage would have been so tolerated as in this movie! It shows also some interesting aspects like the arid nature of this region and the nature of its people. I spent a nice time in this movie. I encourage that more movies from that relatively unknown region of the world (middle east- west Asia) should be made

Movie Scene

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