🇹🇷 FATMA 🇹🇷
FATMA (2021-) is a Turkish Netflix Original show. 8 x 39-47min. 15 Cert U.K. Available with subtitles and dubbing.
“Fatma, an ordinary cleaning lady, commits an unexpected murder while searching for her missing husband, Zafer. She becomes an invisible killer; no one takes her to be more than an unexceptional “cleaner.” Netflix
Bircu Biricik as Fatma Yilmaz
Mehmet Yilmaz Ak as Bayram
Hazal Türesan as Mine
Sehsuvar Aktas as Chief
Ugur Yücel as Writer
Gulcin Kultur Sahin as Kadriye
Deniz Sen Hamzaoglu as Ismail
Çagdas Onur Öztürk as Yusuf
Olgun Toker as Susan
Mustafa Konak as Oguz
Director: Ozgur Ornurme & Ozer Feyzioglu
Writers: Ozgur Onurme & Ahmet Vatan
Cinematographer: Tolga Kutlar
Composer: Tufan Aydin
Costume: Esra Bayram
Editing: Ali Aga & Cengiz Karadag
Production Design: Burak Yerlikaya
Esra Bayram also did costume design for 1 episode of The Protector.
Ali Aga is a multi-award-winning editor.
Burak Yerlikaya was also production designer on 50m2.
I had been aware of the planned arrival of this show for quite some time, and was excited to see what this Turkish Netflix Original production was going to bring to the screen (I am a fan of Turkish shows and movies generally).
The Director and writer Ozgur Onurme has been quoted as saying that this show was the result of exploring the idea of being unnoticed and invisible in society. In this respect, it delves into a facet similar to that of the recent Turkish Netflix Original film Paper Lives (Struggle Alley).
I thought it only right to spend a little time on Fatma as a character. She is one of the unnoticed, the invisible, the literally disregarded. When we first meet her she seems depressed, stressed and bereft. She is driven, for the most part, and most of this show by her hunt for her missing husband. This does however change. I had thought that this might be something of a dark comedy and while there are occasions where it is amusing to see people disregard Fatma at other times it is deeply shocking.
How Fatma becomes a murderer is by accident rather than design and is triggered by the verbal abuse etc. to which she is subjected. She dresses plainly and her stance and posture are most often insecure and unassuming. You can see her lack of self-esteem. Until those moments where she snaps! Unlike shows such as Barry which have murderers trying to turn their lives around this is the complete reversal… this is a non-murderer who becomes increasingly murder-y.
One of the main aspects of Fatma’s life is her young, autistic son. The scenes with him are beautifully filmed and convey the love she undoubtedly has for him. We learn that she does not have a close support network around her.
I enjoyed the way that the story unfolded and even some events which are a little too convenient it coincidental did not disrupt my viewing. That the viewer comes to root for poor Fatma is key here.
There are numerous flashbacks throughout the series. These are beautifully filmed, particularly focussing on the small girls “slippers” often walking backwards away from… we find out in due course. We see from her past and from the stressors (often but not always verbal) that makes her murder and also the main ways she “chooses” to do so – shooting or pushing.
The central performance by Bircu Biricik is phenomenal and helps hold the series together. She shows immense emotional range, physicality and never appears to be performing; she is always “real”. Hers is a truly transformative, mesmerising performance. There are so many scenes where you are blown away by her performance but if I had to pick just one it would be in the hospital.
The rest of the supporting cast and characters are great as they come into contact with her. Everyone plays their part in this tragedy. Çagdas Onur Öztürk was great as the thuggish Yusuf and young Mustafa Konak was incredible as Fatma’s son, Oguz. Big shout out too for Mehmet Yilmaz Ak for his performance as the awful Bayram. Olgun Toker really made an impact in his role as the lawyer with principles (and boy, are people with principles hard to find in this show) especially as he uses two languages.
Whilst we may expect other women to empathise with Fatma, and some do, it’s often the case that they too discount her to their interests, needs and assumptions. Fatma’s sister is the opposite side of the coin to Fatma and while we do not perhaps find her easy to sympathise with ultimately we can see that we should. Both she and Fatma have repressed memories and have tried to cope in different ways. Both she and many of the other women are victims of betrayals, some big, some small, but all deeply felt.
The men! Well, what can I say… Almost all the male characters from her errant husband, to the writer, from the landlord to the thugs are not good people. They ignore, threaten, disregard and disparage Fatma. Many learn that this is a mistake. The exception is the lawyer who tries to both guide and help Fatma. We see that he does this too for all his clients who are underrepresented and easily manipulated. He is one of the very few who is prepared to make a personal sacrifice because he (shockingly) has a moral compass!
The cinematography, editing and music score in Fatma are all superb. The way this is filmed conveys Fatma’s emotional and psychological state at any given time. The directorial eye is clear and decisive and the pacing is great. Many scenes are set in everyday locations, construction sites, railway stations, markets and these help rack up the shock factor of Fatma’s actions. There are two specific scenes involving fire and we see that Fatma is a woman so wronged that she would see the world burn. The effects for these scenes and others are impressive, as is the stunt work .
I accept that there are coincidences and conveniences and that this story could be criticised for having too many of these but the fact is that they did not matter a single jot to me while watching this show. How the story builds and builds in intensity (almost unbearably so by the finale) that past events are revealed are devastating viewing. Make no mistake Fatma is a very affecting piece of television. It does not shirk away from the awful truths.
Fatma leaves us at a moment of terrible realisation and tragedy. This series places her (and the other invisible ones) centre stage and with a spotlight fixed firmly upon her. No longer is she unnoticed, trampled over and ignored. There are certainly some Kill Bill moments in this! We are so wrapped up with her character’s experiences and fate that it is deeply affecting.
There is the potential for another season, if this were to happen I will be watching. Highly recommended.
‘What you call dust is sand and soil but mostly it’s human skin’