“My Father’s Violin” is the Turkish version of the melodrama we’ve grown weary of watching
The new movie came to Netflix from Turkey with a well-worn formula, but enough to earn spots at the top of most-watched movies.
“Everyone has a melody. You just have to know how to hear it,” the wealthy street musician Ali Riza, violin master, calmly explains to his eight-year-old daughter. A few seconds later, a fit of coughing throws the first hint of the impending tragedy.
Riza is the father of Özlem, whose mother died giving birth. He quickly realizes that he not only has cancer, but only has a few weeks to live. Faced with the scenario of her daughter becoming an orphan, she decides to ask for help from her brother, whom she has been with for over 30 years.
The past of both hides a tragic story. Mehmet accuses his brother of abandoning him when he put him on a boat to Italy, where he grew up alone and became a famous musician. And of course he declines the request to take Özlem in after his certain death.
At this crossroads of clichés, the latest Turkish production to arrive on Netflix runs aground. “My Father’s Violin” quickly rose to the top of most watched, similar to another Turkish hit that became a phenomenon in 2021, thanks largely to the same formula, “Miracle in Cell 7”.
The context is different, but the goal is the same: to touch viewers’ tender points so that, between tears and a slight smile, most forget that they’ve already seen the same story over and over again in hundreds of other films. In this case, the cheap melodrama takes place in an unusual Istanbul and is surrounded by a soundtrack of classic music hits that we already know by heart. Damn originality.
Like “Miracle in Cell 7,” “My Father’s Violin” plays the emotional blackmail card – and judging by the way it climbs to the top, it seems to be working.
Central to this strategy is Özlem, the cheerful but complicated kid who serves as the key to all of the characters. Through her we sympathize with her father, with the musicians who accompanied and protected her; Through her, we also witness the redemption of Mehmet, who is characterized as an arrogant and insufferable musician before magically transforming himself into a beloved character.
Everything happens with difficulty, everything is irritatingly predictable – even the great mystery behind the brothers’ dispute, unraveled without much apotheosis, is wide open before the first half hour of the film. And it’s all boring to expect because we’ve watched this story repeatedly to the point of nausea.
Many other actors have recreated the role of an orphan who hides his vulnerability with an apparent strength and resilience; we also know dozens of Mehmets, with a tough facade that is quickly dismantled by the innocence of the children.
My Father’s Fiddle is, at its core, a remake of hundreds of Disney’s family-friendly, happy films. The scenarios, the actors, the language change, but nothing escapes the terrifying monster of globalization. An honorable exception to the wonderful breakfast prepared by Özlem, which does justice to Turkish cuisine.
Among the characters created in copy-paste mode, resulting in ridiculous caricatures moved to the sound of classical music used to add emotion to empty scenes, there is little good that can be said about “My Father’s Violin”. can.