Bliss by OZ Livaneli (2002)
Mutluluk directed by Abdullah Oguz (2007)
This film has made me realize something. I simply don’t like movies if they change too much from the book, even if I didn’t love the book itself.
And believe me, I tried to ignore the book and focus only on the story as the film presents. But there were some BIG changes I just couldn’t let go of.
For instance, the first two-thirds of the book was condensed into the first 30-40 minutes of the film. That’s because anything concerning Irfan (the professor) before he meets Meryem and Cemal is completely cut out. Now, this I didn’t mind so much because he whined a lot and I got a little annoyed with him. And there isn’t really any background on Cemal–in the book he finishes his time as a commando in the Turkish Army before he goes home, but the film just references it a little. I would’ve liked to see some nightmares or other background. As for these two things, they are not imperative to the story, so I can’t really complain about them being left out.
But there was another thing that I really didn’t like. Meryem’s rapist is Cemal’s father–this the reader knows going into the book, if he/she read the book jacket. He is a sheikh in their small village and simply commands Cemal to “take her away”. And it’s left at that. But in the film, for some reason the rapist feels Cemal hasn’t done his job and sends his “thugs” after them to make sure the job is done. First of all, the fact that the sheikh had “thugs” as would a mafia boss is completely out of tune with the rest of the story, as the film presents it. It seems this was added to create a fast-paced climax. Oh, and then Meryem’s father kills his cousin (brother in book) the rapist when he finds out what he did–*how dramatic!*
So, if I’m trying to be completely uninfluenced by the book, the film Mutluluk (which is in Turkish, fyi) was alright. I felt it wasn’t fast-paced, but rather the characters were rushed around. (I did miss the slow travels from the village on the shores of Lake Van to Istanbul–in the book, it wasn’t so slow that it was tedious. But it was when Meryem learned about and absorbed the world outside her village.)
One last thing. It didn’t matter in the film, but it was such a strange change to make in the adaptation that I have to point out what I disliked the most. Cemal fell in love with Meryem in the film. He has an odd sort of loathing for her in the whole book until he finds out just who raped her, but even then he doesn’t all of the sudden love her or anything. So I didn’t like this at all. But, again, it didn’t really affect the film in any way.