Free Slave

Directed by Mehmet Tanrisever | Review by Shahrzad Dadgar

What do artists could do when their living situation does not let them be creative anymore? What’s the purpose of life for people who could not follow their inner desire? “You’ll ruin the network of relationships between people.” That’s what the man of wisdom told Mehmet when he was about to jump into the water and end his life.

If an artist stops being creative, their true self is devastated. The essence of art is cherishing the amazing opportunity of making art as we live. If you go ahead and commit suicide, if you stop being creative, you’ll betray your true mission as an artist. Artists, all over the world are the modern prophets who are supposed to convert the inspirations from the imaginary world to reality.

Directed by Mehmet Tanrisever “Free Slave” reveals the portrait of an artist. This feature reflects the struggles of an independent filmmaker who has to go through a new chapter of his life which nothing is like the good old days anymore.

He is an award-winning filmmaker who wasn’t lucky about finding the required financial source to start his new project. He is literally broke. He doesn’t have any family members besides his daughter, he couldn’t find a job, it’s just him against the world. The only power which encourages him to follow his dreams is the dignity and the passion towards art. He is the symbol of an indefatigable survivor in the modern world, who does not want to obey the rules of others’ lifestyle, instead of compromising with the current terms, he pushes harder on changing his life.

The consistency in following the main character helps the structure of the movie to impress the audience with empathy. The invariable point of view of the narration helps the stability of the story. There are many secondary characters in the movie which are the presenters of a wide range of the castes of the society.

Each one of these individuals impacts Mehmet’s life in their own way. Even though the audience might discover many small pieces of the story with each character but will never forget who the hero is and how does this journey is leading the narration.

“Free Slave” is an inspiring movie about “How to handle hard days in life”. Living with the art and getting support to take steps toward creativity is not as easy as it seems in the first look. Mehmet is trying to convince the industry, producers, and colleagues to trust him in his new project. After a while, he has to encourage himself to keep up the attitudes he’s picked about high values, personal beliefs and the worldview about the meaning of life. Sorrow, pain, suffer and joy are the raw materials for an artist to create.

The key to success is to create a piece of art with freedom. Mehmet believes the real freedom is the freedom of the soul. That’s the main reason he could not live like other people and get used to ordinary life.

Director represents a wide range of cultural events and conventions in Turkey. Showing the procedure and the emotional mood of the funerals, weddings, movie opening parties, and backstage of a movie helps the audience to build a cohesive realistic image of Turkish manners, this attribute could be considered as one of the strong aspects of “Free Slave”.

The proper use of Turkish urban life as a living character was a genius idea which makes the experience of watching “Free Slave” an artistic tour beyond Turkey as well. The soul of the city is felt in all of the sequences. The director’s intention is to represent a memorable image of each part of the city including restaurants, mosques, night clubs, hospitals, streets, parks, bazars, and even graffities.

“Free Slave” is shot with brilliant cinematography and enriched by soft lighting. The blurry border of the imagination and the reality is well performed in the dance club scene. The lighting is enormous. The combination of red, blue and yellow rays resembles the dance stage is a gateway to the dreamland.

Mehmet swings involuntarily with the music which leads him to conceive a Sama Dance. The Sama represents a cherishing form of worship. Mehmet needs to meditate on God and seeks his support as well. Sama means “listening” and whenever Mehmet listen to his inner voice, the word of wisdom, he finds the truth. The main concept of the “Free Slave” could be defined in “dance in silence, seek the freedom in patience”.


Shahrzad Dadgar is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer and was trained as an architect and engineer before pursuing a film career. As an artist, Shahrzad’s work focuses on promoting understanding of women’s empowerment, and women who have suffered from sexual issues. She has received the coveted Golden Gazzale from the Persian International Film Festival in Australia as well as “Best Inspirational Women in Film” award from the online Festigious Film Festival of Los Angeles, and more. Dadgar is now attending Jacksonville University’s College of Fine Arts in Florida on a Talent Scholarship Grant and continuing to make independent films.

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