– The Battle of Two Empires
Director: Faruk Aksoy
Starring: Devrim Evin, Dilek Serbest
In the first few scenes of this, the most expensive and successful Turkish film ever made, we come to understand a few key points. We see that Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II is a mighty swordsman, diplomat, linguist and strategist, as well as being a crack shot with the bow and arrow (bullseyes every time!). Perhaps more importantly, he is absolutely gagging to conquer Constantinople and will stop at nothing until this has been achieved. Following this intro, off we trot on a rather violent, CGI-heavy and historically dubious retelling of the fall of the Byzantines. There are flashes of 300 and The Lord of the Rings, with ferocious battle scenes fought with thousands of soldiers. Turkish soaps operas get a nod, with numerous smouldering glances and a couple of long-haired heroes channelling Jack Sparrow meets 1980s shampoo advert. It’s cheesy, but enjoyable. But the bloodbath it eventually takes to capture the city (sorry for the spoiler) might question any sense of national pride.