Directed by Çetin Inanç and starring Turkish action superstar Cüneyt Arkin, The Man Who Saved The World is an amazingly over-the-top knock-off of George Lucas’s Star Wars. Popularly known as Turkish Star Wars for reasons that are clearly apparent, this Turkish slab of cinematic taffy stretches the boundaries of disbelief to the breaking point. And that’s what makes it a far more entertaining film than the one it rips off. I’ve forgotten most of the original Star Wars but I’ll never forget Cüneyt Arkin doing battle with a gigantic psychopathic shag carpet using only a cardboard sabre (completely lightless) and some well-placed karate chops.
Or the bizarre make-up effects on some of the indigenous space people.
Turkish Star Wars action figures included this close encounter of the turd kind.
Turkish film writer Evrim Ersoy sums up Turkish Star Wars nicely:
Director Çetin İnanç‘s attempt to create the ultimate Turkish science fiction epic has all the trademarks of the genre: a mash-up of American cinema tradition and Turkish mythology bound together by the insane desire to reach infinitely beyond its microscopic budget. Two pilots who find their ships mysteriously crashing on an alien planet end up fighting an evil dictatorial emperor plotting to destroy Earth. But no summary can do this wild mix justice. From its z-grade, beautiful inhabitants to the endless borrowed shots literally spliced in from the actual STAR WARS, this is lo-fi filmmaking at an unparalleled best.
The cast and crew of Turkish Star Wars. Making movies on the run with no money and no time. Attempting to reach warp speed in an Econoline van.
As I watch the hype around the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and listen to my many friends losing their shit over this new installment I realize that there’s an age gap between me and the fanatics. In 1977 (the year Star Wars was released), I was 26 years old, had started a punk band, and was planning my move to New York City. I thought Star Wars was hopelessly square, a space western in disco drag. But my friends who are still creaming over Star Wars were children when they first saw it. So perhaps they saw it differently than I did. Maybe their minds were wider open than mine. Maybe it’s a generational thing. All I know is that I prefer the cheesy rip-off that is Turkish Star Wars over the Hollywood original. It has the primitive energy and purity of a great punk rock song. It’s The Ramones to Lucas’s epic Emerson, Lake and Palmer slog.
In honor of Turkish Star Wars D.I.Y. spirit, I’ve put together this mix of 31 Turkish rock, prog and punk songs as a soundtrack to the movie which you can watch now in all of its goofy glory. The song list is on my Vimeo page.