Turkish series Ethos is, without a doubt, the best I have seen in the last few years. Masterfully written and directed by Berkun Oya, the combination of reminiscent late 1970s/early1980s European cinematography and music supervision places Ethos side by side with some of the most iconic French and Italian classics of that time period. These are the stories of women trapped between tradition and modern Western life, between religion and secularism, between family and themselves, between the power of a male religious leader and the contested authority of a female psychiatrist, between, believe it or not, Freud and Jung. But it is also the story of those men who, as a result of that process, have had to challenge their traditional notions of manhood. Oya shows us how women’s emancipation impacts men’s perception of gender dynamics. This is a profoundly political, social, feminist and humanist work. Not only against Erdogan, the patriarchy and religious institutions; it is, crucially, about feminine solidarity. At some point, one of the characters tells her blindly traditionalist sister that if she persists attacking and morally criticising emancipated women like herself “they will win”. And all of the sudden one feels how vast and wide “they” is. It goes beyond Turkey, the Middle-East, Europe or gender. Any of us can be “they” each time we waver on supporting women against moral and sexual discrimination. And that is only one of the reasons why the series is called Ethos.
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