Il Derviscio (2001)

Release Date - Nov 12, 2003 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 130 min.  |   Countries - Italy, Turkey  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Connor McMadden

In Dervis, Italian director Alberto Rondalli returns to the theme of religion which has served him well in several earlier films. It is a story of revenge set in provincial Turkey in the early 1900s. Its main character is Ahmed Nurettin, a sheik who is responsible not only for upholding the civil law in his community, but also the Muslim faith. Because Ahmed is a dutiful man, he tries to do his best in this world by studying the Koran day and night. The problem is that his studies are so time-consuming that he has become out of touch with his fellow man. A wake-up call comes when Ahmed's brother is accused of a crime he did not commit and is arbitrarily sentenced to death. At first, Ahmed assumes that his position of power will get his brother off the hook, but he soon learns that the judges in the case are men just like himself -- men who are indifferent to society, knowing only the codes and punishments set down in their religious books. When the brother is executed, Ahmed sets out to punish the judges in his brother's case by stirring up a bloody revolt. Events spiral out of control until Ahmed comes into conflict with his best friend in the community, a man named Hassan. He believes he must kill Hassan, but the choice is a difficult one, as Ahmed knows deep down that the murder will be unjust. In the end, Ahmed must choose to obey his religious duties or the tugs of his conscience.