Turkish soap operas are incredibly popular – and not just in Turkey. Throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans and Asia, millions of viewers are glued to every episode of series such as “Noor”, “Fatmagul”, “Suleiman” and “Life Goes On”. The Turkish cities used as locations have become tourist attractions, and huge numbers of parents name their children after the main characters. “Kismet” seeks out the secrets behind the soaps, which while breaking taboos also count many strict Christians and Muslims among their loyal audience. The film alternates interviews with the stars, directors, and scriptwriters with analyses by sociologists and portraits of faithful fans – most of them female – from Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Athens, Mostar, Sofia and Istanbul. The soaps transcend cultural and religious boundaries, and their devotees see them as much more than a temporary escape from their often-dismal social reality. They may swoon at the hotly debated romantic intrigues, but they are also emboldened by the female characters, all of whom are strong, independent fighters. Alongside illustrative scenes from the series, the documentary brings us the personal stories of women who followed in the footsteps of their heroines to fight for their rights, and to ultimately break free of oppressed lives.
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