Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
Brooklyn, New York, United States
June 01
Freelance writer, editor, and first citizen of Judy's World.

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OCTOBER 4, 2010 8:42AM

Turkish filmmaker releasing Gaza Flotilla revenge thriller

Rate: 3 Flag

 Valley of the Wolves
Poster for "Valley of the Wolves - Palestine," which is
being released on January 28 (Wikipedia)


We all know by now that Youtube has made illegal military assaults and human rights violations risky for the perpetrators since the new technology makes it possible for the entire planet to view and review them at leisure. But it looks as if good old-fashioned movies can have the same effect. Israelis reacted with outrage over the weekend when they heard the news that the Turkish Pana Film production company is producing a big budget feature film inspired by the IDF assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, which led to the deaths of nine Turkish citizens and touched off a serious diplomatic conflict between the Jewish state and Turkey.

Some scenes of Valley of the Wolves – Palestine (watch the teaser below) are currently being filmed aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, where the assault took place, and recreate the bloody event. (In the movie version, the Israelis attack the Turkish activists while they are praying.) But the film, a spinoff of Turkey’s popular anti-Israeli and anti-American TV series Valley of the Wolves and a subsequent feature film by that name, goes on to imagine the film’s hero, undercover assassin Polat Alemdar, tracking down the assault’s sinister fictional organizer, a perfidious Israeli character called Mose Ben Eliezer who “destroys villages, kills children and throws everyone who helps Polat into prison,” the Associated Press quotes the producers as saying.    

The film had already started production when the raid occurred last May, and the producers quickly rewrote the script to accommodate the new plotline. In the words of screenwriter Bahadir Ozdener: “We’re calling out to people’s conscience. All we want is freedom for innocent and tormented Palestinian people living in inhumane conditions in the world’s biggest prison.” Director Zubeyr Sasmaz struck a conciliatory note when he spoke to the New York Times last month, stating that “the real story” concerned a Jewish-American tour guide called Simone who comes to sympathize with the Palestinian plight: “She represents the American individualism, and discovers humanism as she gets forced to live among Arabs. Hers is the only character that evolves after learning about the human tragedies in Gaza.”

Zubeyr Sasmaz  
Turkish "Wolves" director Zubeyr Sasmaz

The original cinema film, Valley of the Wolves – Iraq, which featured American actor Billy Zane (Titanic), and a gang of marauding American soldiers who murder civilians as “terrorists” across the country and torture suspects at Abu Ghraib prison while a sinister Jewish doctor harvests organs for rich New York customers. It was the most expensive Turkish film ever when it appeared in 2006. It has since grossed $27.9 million worldwide. The Wall Street Journal called it “a cross between ‘American Psycho’ in uniform and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”   

I’m not a big fan of the WSJ myself, considering its responsibility for getting us involved in Iraq in the first place, and yet the same thought crossed my own mind when I watched the film on DVD last year (although I can't honestly say that it's any worse than your typical "kill-the-Arabs" American porn-violence flick). But considering the success of Valley of the Wolves - Iraq and the notoriety of the Gaza Flotilla raid, the new film, due for release in January, is bound to be a blockbuster in Turkey and the Arab world. As far as the WSJ and the Pana’s Israeli critics are concerned, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the cinema. Or maybe you should think twice before you start invading sovereign countries and attacking people in international waters.


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Thank you for reporting on this, Judy. I would like to see the film when it's released. Wonder if it'll be be possible to do so in Canada.
The rest of the world is catching up to Hollywood.