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Screening Gothicised Turkey: Exploring National Identity and Child Abuse in Can Evrenol’s Kurban Bayramı/Festival of Sacrifice (2008)

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date11/09/2014
Original languageEnglish
EventGothic and Uncanny Explorations Conference - Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Duration: 10/09/201412/09/2014


ConferenceGothic and Uncanny Explorations Conference


Festival of Sacrifice is a religious holiday celebrated once a year in Muslim countries and cultures. The festival is simply the re-enactment of Abraham’s story, his obedience to God and God’s mercy on his son in return. During the festival, Muslims gather to show their obedience to God and sacrifice an appropriate animal. Since Turkey is a Muslim country, the festival serves as a part of Turkish national identity. Although cinema is an effective way of reflecting national identity, Festival of Sacrifice has never been the subject of any horror film until Can Evrenol’s Kurban Bayramı / Festival of Sacrifice (2008). This paper will discuss Festival of Sacrifice within the context of Gothic criticism to explore the link between the social dimensions of sacrifice and the representation of its traumatic results on the Gothic screen. The opening scene of the film serves as an introduction to Turkish national identity and is followed by the sacrifice scene which makes references to Freud’s term, “the uncanny” in a Turkish context. Moreover, while Rene Girard’s theory of “the scapegoat” creates an understanding of the motivational background of the use of sacrifice motif in the film, Dani Cavallaro’s interpretation of the Gothic child enables further analysis within Gothic criticism. Drawing upon the representation of national trauma in Horror cinema, Festival of Sacrifice not only reflects the Turkish identity and its traumatic past but also relates this discussion to the most common conventions of the Gothic genre.