Altar / Turkish Conan

27 Mayıs 2008

You can estimate the age of all the historical fantastic Turkish films pass in, but Altar. Remzi Jonturk’s Altar (1985) is the only film in Yesilcam, tells from of an unknown, ancient, wild age.

Obviously, the film drawn Conan the Barbarian as sample. The story passes in ancient ages, in an unknown world. (however “Urartu” name is mentioned a few times, but actually, there is no connection) Zodiac the tyrant (Esref Kolcak) rules the land. Zodiac also possesses the Fire, and punishes those who use Fire without his permission with death. Zodiac is bearded by Utah (Sait Seyit), who forged a magnificent sword, made of a meteorite rock, fallen from the sky, and plunged it into a stone. (wasn’t that Excalibur?) His son, Altar (Cevat Pars) will rescue the land from Zodiac. Utah burns himself to death, Altar grows up and becomes a colossus warrior, but enslaved by Osep the slave trader (Kazim Kartal). Altar fights all day long, has sex all night long.

One day, Altar escapes from Osep, and encounters with Queen Alyoki‘s (who Altar‘s father knew) daughter, Nino (Cecilya Daymaz), and rapes her.(This must be a way for a man to get across with the girls in these times) Nino wounds Altar by a dagger (what a romantic answer!) but afterwards she cures him by some witchy magic tricks in a cave.

Nino leaves him and arrives in the castle of Hunka (Nuri Alço), son of Zodiac (who has been killed in the meantime) and captured by Hunka. And Altar comes to the place, removes his father’s sword from the stone, kills Hunka‘s men, rescues Nino, kills Hunka and rides his horse to the new adventures.

You can find properly good imaging in patches, diligently prepared masks and costumes in the film, but with its messy scenario, redundant dialogs, exaggerated acting and so much Conan flavour, it doesn’t get further than a “Kitsch” movie; with Altar‘s hard-to-lift-sword and half-dressed girls.

Before the film is released, its fragments have been shown in theatres for a long time. Remzi Jonturk has convinced the theatre owners of the provinces that he made an excellent fantastic film and he marketed it very well. Film’s fragments have been cleverly prepared that you could believe it’s made in Hollywood, and that increased the expectations of audience, who were hungry for a homebred fantastic film for a long time. But the result was a disappointment; weird dialogs and sticky sentimentalism made the audience disinclined of the movie. Here are some examples of the dialogs in the movie;

Utah says to the King of Fire; “Fire, Water, Earth; all belong to Utah“. King of Fire doesn’t care, turns to his troops and shouts; “Zippo, keranyuk, da” and the troops make head to Utah. Then Utah thunders “I smash you, your men and your cousins (?)”. The troops don’t care his threats and surround him, but Utah massacres them all hastily. Towards the end of the massacre, Utah tumbles with his heavy sword. At that moment, his son, Altar pops up; and Utah says “Didn’t I tell you don’t come!” to him, “didn’t I tell you that the flowers don’t grow in the garden of blood!“. And Altar answers “I came to see the cruelty of your sword, to watch how you reap them

However the film was a well-intentioned endeavour, it’s just a insipid experience for the audience, who have already seen “Conan the Barbarian“, “Conan the Destroyer“, “Beastmaster“, “Sword and the Sorcerer“…etc.

Altar is now forgotten, because it’s mentioned so much, and not argued out like the similar films, such as Kara Murat and Tarkan series. Turkish TV channels were used this film few times to fill the idle hours after midnight in weekdays. This Cult film can’t be found in video stores, but perhaps can be found on internet. Despite all its delinquencies, it merits interest and respect as a unique prehistoric fantastic film in Turkish cinema. And on the other hand, it’s an unusual experience to watch Nuri Alco in a different role. We hereby would like to tender our thanks to the team who created this film for their courage.


Murat Tolga Şen

6 Kasım 1973 doğumlu ve tipik bir Akrep burcu olan Murat Tolga Şen, 2005 yılında Öteki Sinema'yı kurarak yayın yönetmenliğini üstlenmiştir.

OFCS (Online Film Critics Society) üyesidir. 2010 yılından bu yana Beyazperde sitesinde yazarlık yapmaktadır. 2012-2023 yılları arasında Medyaradar sitesinde TV sektörüne dair eleştiriler kaleme aldı. 2014-2016 sezonunda Okan Bayülgen’in Dada Dandinista adlı programının yazı grubunu yönetti.

2017-2019 yılları arasında Antalya Sinema Derneği’nin danışmanlığını yaptı. 2014-2023 yılları arasında Eğlenceli Cinayetler Kumpanyası’nda oyunculuk yaptı. Bir Notanın Hikayesi adlı belgeselin senaryo yazarıdır ve Agatha'da Cinayet adlı tiyatro oyununu yazmıştır.

Ayrıca, Bir İz - Madımak belgeselinin danışmanlığını üstlenmiştir. Yazılarına Beyazperde ve Öteki Sinema'da devam etmektedir. Veteran bir yelkenci olan Murat Tolga Şen, 2021'den bu yana ressam Yalçın Gökçebağ'ın sanat menajerliğini yapmaktadır.

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