While several Turkish television dramas have taken over the world, here are some faster alternatives on Netflix that will provide you a glimpse of Turkish life.
The Butterfly's Dream - Kelebeğin Rüyası
“Is it fair to be this beautiful, while the world is at war?”
The Butterfly's Dream is a poignant period drama that took Turkey by storm when it came out in 2013. The story is one of the successful works of Yilmaz Erdogan, who has written and directed the movie. It has mesmerised audiences with its soundtrack and a choice of costumes that reflect the spirit of the early 20th century.
The story revolves around two aspiring poets, Muzaffer and Rustu, who both were forced to work at a coal mine during the Second World War. Their lives change completely when they fall in love with the same girl, Suzan. The friends make a bet to write the best poem for her but it turns out the competition won’t be as easy as they thought.
The film was selected as the Turkish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, and its soundtrack composer won World Soundtrack Awards - Public Choice Award. It also won three awards at the Moondance International Film Festival in Colorado.
Ethos - Bir Başkadır
The Netflix-production Ethos is one of the most spoken-about Turkish dramas. The series titled ‘Bir Baskadir’ in Turkish means ‘Is Something Else’ is only one season long with eight episodes. Its fans say it gives the impression of a prolonged film.
The main character, Meryem, is a part-time cleaner at a rich man's house. She faints there one fine morning. The next shot shows her at a therapist's office. From there onwards, the story of Ethos gets complex as it reveals social and economic disparities between eight unique characters from different backgrounds whose stories intersect in Istanbul.
Miracle in cell NO.7 - 7. Koğuştaki Mucize
Turks love to watch a good drama, and Turkish drama makers are good at it. Miracle in cell NO.7 could be one of the epic choices for you, but beware - the movie is full of heart-wrenching, tear-jerker drama. It’s adapted from a South Korean film with the same name, but the storyline and characters show a significant difference.
Memo, a mentally impaired young man, and his daughter Ova, have their lives turned upside down after Memo is falsely accused of murdering a commander’s young daughter. But the criminals in his prison cell help him to seek justice.
With 8.3 IMDB score, the adaptation has become the most watched film in Turkish theatres in 2019 and won several awards.
Magic Carpet Ride - Organize İşler
Another film written and directed by Yilmaz Erdogan, this time a comedy, provides a glimpse to a very specific kind of Turkish humour that manages to survive the translation.
It tells the story of a crime leader recruiting a suicidal Superman impersonator, a failed comedian to his gang in Istanbul. The gang members are close to each other like an organised crime family. Meanwhile, a woman driving a stolen-car the gang once sold her is plotting her revenge from the gang.
Ayla - The Daughter of War
Another tear-jerker, Ayla, is based on a true story of a Turkish sergeant from the UN Brigade. Suleyman risks his life to save a small Korean girl, Kim Eun-ja, from near-death during the Korean War that started in 1950. Despite a lack of common language, she immediately becomes a source of joy in the Turkish army base where Suleyman takes Ayla.