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On Fertile Lands (1980)

Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde (original title)
The tragic story of three farm worker who migrates from their village to the cotton land Çukurova.


Erden Kiral


Orhan Kemal (based on the novel by), Erden Kiral (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Yaman Okay Yaman Okay ... Ali
Erkan Yücel Erkan Yücel ... Yusuf
Nur Sürer Nur Sürer ... Fatma
Tuncel Kurtiz ... Zeynel


The tragic story of three farm worker who migrates from their village to the cotton land Çukurova.

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Release Date:

2 May 2008 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Das fruchtbare Land See more »


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User Reviews

a classic
31 August 2012 | by defneoverSee all my reviews

This movie clearly deserves to be listed among the best Turkish films of all time. The script is based on Orhan Kemal's famous book with the same name, "On Fertile Lands"(1954). The film was banned in Turkey by the martial rule of 1980, and its ribbon was lost thereafter, to be found only after 28 years. Except for the one week it was screened in 1980, the movie was screened in Turkish theaters only in 2008. The story is about three friends who leave their village in Sivas to find work at a cotton gin factory in Cukurova. Cukurova is one of the most fertile and first industrialized regions of Turkey. It's home to agriculture based industries. Indeed, through the labor story of these three friends, we get a closer look at the production relations between factory/land owners, jobbers and workers. We witness the alienation experienced in basic human relations, the routinization of work in industrialized agriculture, the rough conditions of work, the despair of workers, and the commercialization in human relations. The movie is also not blind to women's position in production relations both as workers and as objects of male gaze. The book, and therefore the film are based on Orhan Kemal's real experiences gained while working at a cotton gin factory in Cukurova in 1930s. Overall, both the book and the movie present a nuanced picture of Turkey's early modernization from workers' perspective. Erden Kiral, the director, classifies "On Fertile Lands" as an example of realist cinema in Turkey.

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