On January 31st, 2020 the Yunus Emre Institute screened its first film of the new year, Aşk Tesadüfleri Sever (Love Likes Coincidences), directed by Ömer Faruk Sorak. Based in modern day Istanbul and Ankara, a man and woman both find each other through a series of coincidences that have been occurring their entire lives. As fate would have it they fall in love over their shared childhood experiences as they grew up in Ankara.
Aşk Tesadüfleri Sever opens by showing the careers of Özgür and Deniz, two young and successful professionals in Istanbul. Özgür is a successful photographer hosting a magazine shoot and art exhibition. Deniz is a theater actress looking for her big break in the movie industry while dealing with her souring relationship with her boyfriend Burak. After an awkward dinner with Burak’s family and a fight with Burak, Deniz wanders into Özgür’s art exhibition where she recognizes her own childhood photo. Deniz returns the next day and meets Özgür, who explains that his father had a photo shop in Ankara. Deniz goes to Özgür’s studio to get the original photo and as the pair spoke they realized that they knew each other. The pair spend all night together chatting at dinner. Deniz leaves the next morning without her photo because she is late for her theatre troop’s trip to Ankara. Özgür follows her bus and meets her in Ankara with the photo and the pair spend the next few days together. Both Özgür and Deniz experience flashbacks to their childhood of all the times that they met and were driven apart by chance. On their shared birthday, the pair express their love for each other. However, just as fate brought them together, fate conspires against them by forcing them to grapple with an enormous tragedy.
The guests appreciated the heartfelt sentiment that this movie created through a series of romantic coincidences. Both characters as adults were compelling in their own way with their childhood flashbacks and complicated relationship with their respective parents. Following one’s dreams with the reluctance of parents, friends, and loved ones was a relatable theme that some of the guests pointed out. In addition, the guests enjoyed the way that the director made a statement on fate and love without relying too heavily on overused Hollywood clichés. One guest expressed that they appreciated being exposed to Turkish cinema in such a modern and engaging way. At the end of it all, the guests walked out of the Institute chatting with each other about how they had never seen such a stunningly unique Turkish drama like this one.
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