Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time of Violence (a Story of Balkan Christians under Ottoman Muslim rule)

Time Of Violence (1988; 288 min.) is a MUST WATCH Bulgarian movie based on eyewitness written accounts. In the 17th century, a Bulgarian Christian region is selected by the Ottoman rulers to serve as an example of conversion to Islam. A Janissary who was kidnapped from the village as a boy now serving the Ottoman sultan is sent to force the reluctant inhabitants to convert.
The Bulgarian Christians have to chose between physical annihilation and losing their spiritual identity. Ultimately torture, violence, and rebellion break out. Based on real events and the novel Vreme Razdelno ( "Time of Parting") by Anton Donchev.
The novel is based on two individual eyewitness written accounts - by the priest Aligorko and the Venetian. The resulting text is a translation of the original French and Old Bulgarian (Old Church Slavonic) texts. All names, characters and events appear in the original manuscripts.
The year is 1668 AD. The Ottoman Turkish jihad is in its heat in Southeastern Europe.
The Turkish siege of the Venetian fortress of Candia (now Heraklion in Crete) has been lasting for a second decade now. The Rhodope Mountain is seen as a strategically important base of the war but its Christian population is a potential source of instability. The sultan orders its conversion into "the right faith".
The sacred forests and valleys, where according to the legend Orpheus was born, now screams under the yataghans enforcing the foreign creed in blood and fires.
A corps of janissaries is commissioned to the Rhodope Mountains under the command of Kara Ibrahim. At the time, he was, as all the janissaries were, kidnapped from his Bulgarian family, raised as a Muslim, trained to be a ferocious warrior and convert infidels to Islam in a most brutal way. His cruelty stuns even local Ottoman ruler.
He stops at nothing but the resistance of some of the locals is invincible. The struggle is half a success, there are many converts, the death toll is heavy, but all the Bulgarian keep their language and traditions on.
Most of the Balkans were under the thumb of the Ottoman empire. Ottoman empire was showing its ugliest face during this period in Balkans. Bulgaria was a strategically important area inhabited by unreliable Christian subjects. The sultan decided that they must all convert to Islam, or die. Time of Violence focuses on the fate of one valley during this crisis. The son of the miller was taken off by the Turks years ago, while still a boy, to become a janissary. Janissaries were special troops used by the Ottomans.
Recruited (involuntarily) from Christian boys, they were separated from their families at an early age, indoctrinated in Islam, and turned into fiercely reliable troops with no allegiance to anyone but the sultan. The miller's son is now a highly trusted janissary, with the task of converting his entire home valley to Islam. But the people there take their religion very seriously, and will not submit.
The janissary becomes more and more brutal in his attempts to convert the valley, for he must slaughter them all if they don't take the turban.
 europenews

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