My Father’s Violin: Turkish Melodies and Universal Traumas

Babamın Kemanı (My father’s violin), a Turkish movie, directed by Andaç Haznedaroğluis, released earlier this year. It has quickly become popular because of the valuable lesson it portrays that,” Everyone is a melody, you just need to know how to listen”. This sentiment is evident in the entirety of the movie.

Ali Riza is a violinist and together with his three bandmates and his daughter Özlem, they would go busking to make ends meet regularly. Özlem, who was full of life, bright, charming and outgoing, wise beyond her years, would tag along and entertain while collecting money from the people around. Her character made me feel multiple emotions.

 Soon Ali Rıza confronts his death and worries who would take care of his daughter as she had no family besides him. He had to contact his estranged younger brother Mehmet.

Mehmet was a cold and egotistic, world-renowned violinist who had it all. He enjoyed fortune, fame and attention. He was one of those who are always after praise and validation. His arrogance and ego were creating problems in his personal as well as professional life. His marriage was suffering, and his wife was disgusted by his egoistic behaviour. When Ali Riza noticed Mehmet’s concert advert in the newspaper, he went to see him after the show. Mehmet, surprised to see his brother after 32 years, looked like he wanted to scream out how much he missed him but instead he maintained the façade of hating his presence. This reflected how rage and affection co-existed in Mehmet’s heart and his loneliness was making him lose his sanity.

Both brothers had suffered great traumas and horrible parenting when they were young and wanted to pursue becoming violinists. Ali Riza had sacrificed his life for Mehmet but the younger one was unaware of this until later, when it was too late. When Mehmet got to spend time with Özlem and experienced life with her, he suddenly realised his bitterness towards Ali Riza was his problem all along.

Özlem and Mehmet’s chemistry is mesmerising as she finds a way to melt his heart and helps him rediscover what it’s like to live carefree and without chasing fame. He was inspired by her perseverance and the way she used her grief to transform it into melodious violin pieces which is what he did. Mehmet was tranced by her confidence. He fell in love with her personality and her caring attitude towards him. He finally rediscovered the importance of family and how much he missed this. She managed to soften his heart by her love for him and the character’s courage and independence is admirable.

Özlem quickly claimed a place in Mehmet’s heart and he couldn’t be more content with his life. This also motivated him to mend his broken marriage with his wife. Mehmet tells Suna, “Family is the most beautiful composition that is made up of different notes”. They both adored Özlem and since they had no child of their own, it felt like they found the purpose of their life in Özlem.

The movie has been beautifully directed to showcase the tuneful melodies of Turkish music and its evident how it plays an important role in portraying the characters, their emotions and their relationships. This movie has beautiful panoramic shots of exquisite locations throughout. The bustling street life was a treat to watch and compensated for the sad parts. The movie was great at pulling the heartstrings and delivered a pleasant melodious experience. This one surely teaches multiple lessons about what matters in family and life.