‘Mucize isn’t the kind of film that tells it all. It’s a humble experience that strengthens the magical system of belief and hope,’ writes Babli Yadav.
For some people, writing is second nature. For others, it’s a hit in the elbow. Ouch! I have been hitting my elbow for a long time now, hurts excruciatingly. It’s a love-hate thing. It’s all there in the head, cinematically aesthetic; so why formalize it, give it a headline, a page, a thousand words – tie it down to a marriage of coherency and order. Why?
But tonight, I crave free flow.
A couple of weeks ago, I Netflixed. It was just a random thing. I wasn’t looking for anything special. And then, I found magic. I met Aziz, a character from Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s Mucize. It’s been days, and weeks, of film after film, Netflix-Prime-Hotstar… but Aziz refuses to leave my mind. Every moment that I turn into ‘Me’, there’s Aziz in my eyes rolling in fresh-first snow of the East Turkish mountains embracing life and all its flaws with unexplainable joy. Aziz, a boy with disability, who took 30 odd years of his life to speak his first words, yet spoke to his horse every day. Aziz, who felt deeply and told none.
Mucize (not about music, this one), written and directed by Mahsun Kırmızıgül is set in 1960s Turkey mountainside. A government teacher living in West Turkey is transferred to a small village school in East Turkey. Fearing for his job in the politically turbulent country, Mahir takes up the position much to the dismay of his city-dwelling wife. Leaving behind his two lovely daughters, he trudges mountains, crosses rivers barefoot and finally reaches the remote village of Zaza, only to realize that there is no school there. Eventually, he decides to build a school for the village children to teach during his tenure and pave way for a hopeful future. But it’s the lessons that he learns from the village elders, especially Muhtar Davut (Chief) and his disabled son Aziz that define Mahir and his actions in the coming years.
Besides the wise conversations and lessons, Mucize is a peek into the kind of world Mahsun Kırmızıgül lived in during his formative years. An artiste of Zaza Kurdish descent himself, his capturing of the unrequited mountains, life in its remote villages, strong cultural influences and references, traditions is what makes the film shine. For somebody who has never been to the real-rural Turkey and may never be able to travel, it’s a little piece for keeps.
For instance, there are parts, where women of the house go to other far-off villages to find a suitable bride for the man to be married. The bride-to-be brings tea and whispers warm greetings close in the face. This is to check if she has bad breath. Then, there are questions asked about the Quran and meal preparations, finally there is a string-walk to notice if she has rickety legs. Before the woman's entourage sets off for the task, the groom-to-be runs to them and tells them what he wishes for in his wife. Beautiful eyes, cavity-free white teeth, or something else. But for the wise ladies, knowing of the religion and kitchen comes before looks and that’s how one would expect things to be back then. After all, it's the 1960s in remote mountains.
Mid-way the long story, mucize (meaning magic) happens. Life has its ways, Mahir takes interest in Aziz’s life, finding ways to make it better. Somewhere in the city, an old man promises his daughter’s hand to Mukhtar’s unmarried son. Finally, it’s Aziz’s turn to get married. Be with a woman after 34 years of his life. And thus, Aziz, the imperfect gift of God finds his perfect match in Mizgin. While the couple tries to make the best of what life has thrown at them, the society makes it difficult for them to live there anymore and Aziz and Mizgin have no option but to leave the village and find a less-criticizing world. Only to come back one day.
Mucize isn’t the kind of film that tells it all. It’s a humble experience that strengthens the magical system of belief and hope. It’s a type for those who have their eyes in their hearts. As Muhtar Davut says,
“Some people have eyes in their hearts. They see the world through those eyes. They see everything through those eyes.”
Babli Yadav occupies herself as a homemaker, mother, gardener; weaving poetry in between the silences of the mundane. A former journalist and a reluctant full-timer, you can often spot her staring at trees exchanging sweet nothings. She currently lives in Bengaluru, although her heart is ‘partly’ in a village, on a farm, amidst abundance of nature. She is part of Bengaluru Review’s editorial team.
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