“What was love? Love was kindness, friendship, love was effort. If I stop, I won’t be able to escape again.”
In the golden age of Turkish movies, The Girl With The Red Scarf (Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım) (1978) definitely stood out from others and raised the bar for romantic movies. Inspired by the novel of writer Cengiz Aytmatov and directed by Atif Yilmaz, this brilliant movie remains its impact on our hearts.
Asya, a young girl, meets Ilyas who is a womanizer truck driver, and they quickly fall in love, happily get married and have a son, Samet. However, this beautiful love story is soon shaken by jealousy, an alcohol habit and an extra-marital affair. After he helps a man one night, Ilyas’ life changes forever and he leaves Asya and Samet for another woman and doesn’t come back.
After that, Asya takes their son and goes away without knowing where she is heading, until a familiar hand reaches her to help selflessly. Cemsit opens his home and his heart to Asya and Samet. Samet soon begins to identify him as his father. But then, years later, Ilyas suddenly decides to return, wanting to get back with them. His arrival rekindles the questions that have preoccupied hearts and minds since time immemorial. Asya now has to make a choice between Ilyas, her great love, the real father of her son and Cemsit who had stood by her during all these years and put great effort into their relationship.
The want and need to love and to be loved shape our life. But what is love? What makes a spouse? What makes a parent? Your thoughts about these simple yet very important concepts will be questioned throughout this movie.
It is also said that the French poet Aragon described this movie as “the world’s greatest love story”. With the remarkable performances of actors such as Turkan Soray, Kadir Inanir and Ahmet Mekin, you lose yourself in a dilemma between a woman’s love and her logic and find yourself questioning the meaning of love. The ending will make you sit through the credits with maybe a few tears too.
Especially in recent years, we started to talk more about women’s rights and place in our society. Although, when the movie released, the ending wasn’t quite satisfying for the public and it is understandable. In 70s and 80s, women had a more passive role not only in the society but also in their own lives. However, men could come and go whenever they want and they wouldn’t hold responsible for their actions since taking care of a child considered as a women’s job.
Moreover, in cinema, women usually portrayed as characters driven by their hearth rather than their logic, waiting to be saved by their lover or husband. That’s why, when I look at the ending, I understand why it wasn’t like most audience could have wanted. It is important to not forget that women have minds and souls, as well as just hearts. Personally, I loved the ending because of its meaningful message.
- Imdb: Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalim