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Canlar- Alevis/ Bektashis| 1hr
Director: Nurdan Arca | Producer: Nurdan Arca
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: Turkey
Subject Tags: belief, culture, middle east, religion, turkey
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
"Canlar, Alevis/Bektashis" is a documentary dedicated to Prof. Irene Melikoff, depicting the philosophy and the belief of Alevis-Bektashis. Our approach is "to understand, not believe", guided by Melikoff, our supervisor on Alevism/Bektashism. We travel from her office in Strasbourg to Hacibektas, the birth city of Bektashism, then to the annual ritual gathering (Cem) of Alevis in Nurhak. The documentary focuses on their multi-culturalism, egalitarianism in sexes, religions and races and unique concepts like "can" ( inspired soul), "Eren" (the initiated). Since there is no book of codes for Alevi-Bektashis, the belief survived via poetry and song for thousands of years through generations. The poetic songs (nefes) and dances (semah) of Alevis-Bektashis constitute the essence of the Alevi-Bektashi way. The documentary presents two main rituals, the Conversations (Muhabbet) and Cem of Initiation and Purification (annual ritual gathering for initiation and reconciliation), where songs and dances play a central role. The documentary looks into their present status and demands, as well as the historical background. Despite their underlying humanism, Alevis-Bektashis have suffered massacres throughout history.

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