In an old mansion in Cennethisar, a former
fishing village near Istanbul, a widow, Fatma, awaits the annual summer visit
of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her
husband, an idealistic young doctor, ran afoul of the sultan’s grand vizier and
arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by
her constant servant Recep, a dwarf, and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Despite
mutual dependency, there is no love lost between mistress and servant, who have
very different recollections, and grievances, from the early years, before
Cennethisar grew into a high-class resort surrounding the family house, now in
Though eagerly anticipated, Fatma’s
grandchildren bring little consolation. The eldest, Faruk, a dissipated
historian, wallows in alcohol as he laments his inability to tell the story of
the past from the kaleidoscopic pieces he finds in the local archive; his
sensitive leftist sister, Nilgün, has yet to discover the real-life
consequences of highminded politics; and Metin, a high school nerd, tries to
keep up with the lifestyle of his spoiled society schoolmates while he
fantasizes about going to America, an unaffordable dream unless he can persuade
his grandmother to tear down her house.
But it is Recep’s nephew Hasan, a high school
dropout, lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the
visiting family into the growing political cataclysm issuing from Turkey’s
tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.
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