In the circle of tradition and conservatism: the heroic child in Turkish cinema according to collective values

Gürkan H., GEZMEN B.

Studies in European Cinema, 2023 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17411548.2023.2269658
  • Journal Name: Studies in European Cinema
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Communication & Mass Media Index, Film & Television Literature Index, International Index to Film Periodicals, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Keywords: Child, children films, Sezercik, child identity, Turkish cinema
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


This study focuses on the representation of the child in Turkish cinema, particularly in films where the child is central to the narrative. Turkish cinema constructed a national cinematic language during the Yeşilçam period (1950–1980), the most popular period of Turkish cinema, and representation of the child during this period is the basis of this study. Sezercik was an essential character in the history of Turkish cinema, and Sezercik films, of which there are nine, provide the sample of this study. In these films, family and educational theories manipulate the child and assign him the role of savior and confer a heroic mission on him at the moment of the disintegration of the nuclear family pumped by modernism. The child can be seen with traditional Turkish gender roles, establishing a national Turkish identity for the child: urban, embodying masculine values, heroic, and enacting the role of savior despite the fact of being a child. This heroism is portrayed within a broad framework and a range of contexts, from rescuing the disintegrating or disintegrated family to winning the freedom of the nation and ensuring its continuity.