Considering it took place some 500 years ago, the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 feels like it happened only yesterday -- at least in Istanbul. In recent years, an Ottoman history magazine titled "1453" has been introduced, a municipal museum called "Panorama 1453" has opened, and increasingly lavish commemorations and reenactments of the Ottomans' victory over the Byzantines are being put on.
But now the mother of all tributes is here, with the premier today of a $17 million big-screen Turkish production (actually, the country's most expensive film ever) that tells the story of the conquest. Perhaps not surprisingly in a place where 500 years is just a blip in time, the movie, simply called "Conquest 1453," is already leading to some controversy. From the Wall Street Journal's report on 1453 (the film):
With directors promising a two-and-half hour spectacle of blood, action and tub-thumping Ottoman triumph, it’s also shaping up to be one of Turkey’s more controversial cinematic offerings.
Even before the film’s release, the trailer, screened in January, appeared to enrage some Greeks. The preview was met with consternation by Greek weekly To Proto Thema, which reported that “Turkish invaders are presented as the masters of the world… (The director) Faruk Aksoy fails to show important historical events such as looting and mass slaughter of Greeks.”