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Bliss

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How to depict personal struggles caused by political and religious oppression in modern Turkey? You could pick characters who seem to be stand-ins for issues, as O.Z. Livaneli does in Bliss — like Meryem, a naive girl who ”discredited” her family by being raped; cousin Cemal, a shell-shocked soldier ordered to kill Meryem; and Irfan, the professor they befriend while traveling cross-country to escape their small town, who feels so trapped by his materialistic life that he’s aimlessly fleeing via sailboat. Luckily, Livaneli saves Bliss from cliché with lush scenes of Turkish life and nuanced depictions of the trio’s inner lives, ending in a convergence of lost, likable souls.