“Bliss” is a movie adapted from an international best-selling novel by Zülfü Livaneli, set in Turkey. The 2007 film, directed by Abdullah Oguz, is an emotional rollercoaster to watch.
A young girl Meryem, played by Özgü Namal, is raped by someone in her small village. For reasons not yet shown to viewers, Meryem will not identify her attacker. Her stepmother — who never liked Meryem — gives her rope, and encourages her to say her prayers and kill herself as she has supposedly brought shame on the family. The family head, Meryem’s uncle, says she must be killed to regain their family’s honor.
Meryem’s uncle choses his soldier son Cemal to kill Meryem and orders him to take her to another city to do it. Meryem is told she is going to a bigger city to marry someone with Cemal as a guide.
Along the way, Cemal struggles with obeying his father’s orders when he does not agree with them.
Once in the city, Cemal takes Meryem to his older brother’s house. His brother does not believe in the old ways that their father promotes, such as Meryem’s death order.
Throughout the movie Cemal and Meryem meet many people who broaden their view of the world from the rigid customs of their village.
Meryem begins to see that she has worth even though she is a woman. Many of these changes are because of an ex professor Cemal and Meryem meet.
The professor Irfan hires Meryem and Cemal to assist him on his sailing trip.
He becomes a mentor to Cemal and a father figure to Meryem. Many situations are made difficult by Cemal and Meryem’s upbringing.
Many times when attention is shown to Meryem by Irfan, Cemal acts out in an aggressive manner not realising he is just jealous.
By the middle of the movie you can see Cemal is struggling to realize his feelings for Meryem and it often causes more distance between them.
With an ending that brings closure along with a new beginning, “Bliss” is a must see foreign film.