Yılmaz Güney

Scen.: Yılmaz Güney. F.: Gani Turanlı. M.: Ali Rıza Yılmaz. Mus.: Nedim Otyam. Int.: Yılmaz Güney (Seyyit), Nebahat Çehre (Keje), Hayati Hamzaoğlu (Haydar), Danyal Topatan (Hidayet), Nihat Ziyalan (Mürşit), Sami Tunç (Ali), Hüseyin Zan (tirapiedi di Haydar), Çetin Başaran (Emin), Enver Dönmez (tirapiedi di Haydar), İhsan Gedik (tirapiedi di Haydar). Prod.: Şeref Film DCP. D.: 80’.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Seyyit Han is the first film directed independently by Yılmaz Güney and is a milestone in Turkish cinema. This piece of social criticism also bears the marks of Güney’s love for and concessions to popular genre films. The film opens up with a scene that is reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns. Seyyit Han, a brave loner, dismounts from his horse and enters a bar… He is in love with a beautiful woman named Keje and has returned from a seven-year mission to subjugate his enemies in order to offer her a decent life. However, as he was believed to be dead after such a long absence, Keje’s brother Mürşit has planned to marry her off to the rich landowner Haydar. Seyyit meets with Keje and Mürşit to set the record straight. Keje is ready to flee with Seyyit, but after talking to her brother, she sends him away. With Keje and Haydar’s wedding plans underway, Seyyit Han prepares for his departure. On the wedding night, Haydar discovers that Keje has married him unwillingly in order to preserve her family’s honour. With vengeance in his heart he sets up a deceitful ploy: a deadly shooting competition between him and Seyyit.

This rural revenge drama is an “imperfect film” as director and actor Yılmaz Güney later confessed. Its Hollywood-style action scenes are over-stretched, and its characters are underdeveloped. However, with its realistic mise-en-scène, dramatic use of landscape, and elegant cinematography, it offers a striking mixture of social reality and fairy tale. Seyyit Han is a criticism of feudalism and traditions that silence women.

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