Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Turkish Delight

The most blatant of the Star Wars rip offs, Çetin Inanç’s work actually uses clips from Lucas’s film in the opening sequence of Dünyayi kurtaran adam / The Man Who Saves the World. The clips are run forwards, backwards, and even upside down as they’re intercut with shot of our heroes Murat (Cüneyt Arkin) and Ali (Aytekin Akkaya)—two “great Turk warriors—protecting the Earth.” Strangely, Murat and Ali seem to be piloting TIE Fighters and shoot down X-Wings with glee!

The longwinded voice-over narration posits that the Earth has broken apart but now is protected by a mental force field, showing how powerful the minds of men can be. Somehow, Murat and Ali end up on one of these old chunks of Earth after their battle. Here they find that things are being run by an evil magician who wears a cardboard mask. He has an endless horde of skeleton horseback riders, red carpet monsters, and mummies. All of these Murat and Ali fight with explosive results.

The Man Who Saves the World is bottom-barrel filmmaking at its best. There’s scads of stock footage, pilfered soundtracks (action sequences are usually set to the themes from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon, or both), and truly bizarre plot devices such as a plywood sword and golden brain. While the filmmaking prowess of Çetin Inanç can often leave viewers wondering how he even managed to take the lens cap off the camera, it’s the editing that truly is astounding. It’s as if someone took an early version of the film and threw it into a blender before final release.

By 1982 the steam had gone out of the once-thriving Turkish film market. Once known for his stuntwork and physical prowess, writer and star Cüneyt Arkin looked about as run-down as the cinema he represented. Despite his skillful use of hidden trampolines and kung fu, The Man Who Saves the World is jaw-dropping awful to the point of being bizarrely delightful. The recent addition of subtitles to some DVD bootlegs of this work only adds to the confused charm of this cinematic refuse.


Skizz said...

I like how, in those rear-projection shots, they left in all the editing on the footage they stole from Star Wars, so the backgrounds behind the pilots change without warning.

Anonymous said...

I liked the cheery music during the credits -- was that stolen too? The voiceover (I've never heard spoken Turkish) sounds rather like "baronh," the guttural artificial language invented by Japanese author Hiroyuki Morioka for his Crest of the Stars novels, and which is used for voiceover intros in the anime version. The orange and green tint on the appropriated Star Wars footage actually complements the random editing, which I can happily accept as a historical summary (the BSG music's good for that) since I have no clue what the narrator is explaining. The villain(?)'s spiky mask is actually quite nice.

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