Tragic Christian-Muslim love story made into film in Diyarbakir

Producer of "Suzan Suzi" hopes to make the Kurdish city's culture recognized through cinema.

DIYARBAKIR (Kurdistan 24) - A Turkish and Kurdish cinema crew has begun shooting a film about a forlorn love story between a young Muslim man and a young Christian woman that has been passed from generation to generation in the folklore of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.

Supported by Turkey's Ministry of Culture, the film's producer Bedri Ayseli is leading the crew of 60 actors and other cinema workers.

His team was starting production by filming one of the final scenes on Diyarbakir's Dehderî (ten gates) Bridge, over the Tigris River and on the outskirts of the city, when a Kurdistan 24 correspondent visited them.

"It has been one of my biggest dreams to shoot this film. I also want to introduce all the beautiful things about Diyarbakir. I hope to make the culture and traditions of the city well recognized through cinema," Bedri told Kurdistan 24.

The shooting is expected to take about a month and the movie is set to play in theaters next year.

Bedri's project retells the tale known as Suzan Suzi, the sad love story of Adil, the Muslim man, and his ill-fated lover, Suzan.

It has been an inspiration for many songs and the theatre plays.

Folklore has it that, centuries ago, forty holy men entered a cave in a hill overlooking the city across the bridge, from which they never emerge. From that day on, the holy men have become synonymous with the hill which today is known as the Forties' Mountain.

Over time, it has become a sanctuary for believers of all religions present in the region. As such, it attracts visitors from many walks of life, including the poor, oppressed, lovers, and couples unable to have children, for whom it is common to make animal sacrifices to God in the hopes that their wishes come true.

One day, as the story goes, a Christian couple who cannot conceive a child go to the Forties to pray for a baby. Their pleas are answered when they have a baby girl who they name Suzan.

As she grows up, they take her to the shrine to thank the Forties each year on her birthday.

On one such visit, after she has matured into a beautiful young woman, she crosses paths with a young man named Adil. They are instantly enamored of each other, despite their different religious traditions.

From the same city, they begin having trysts and ever-growing passions eventually lead them to make love at the mountain, the very site followers of both their faiths see as holy.

Enraged by the act, the mountain curses them. While returning home, Suzan falls from the Dehderî bridge to her death, drowning in the waters of the Tigris. Seeing his lover's fate, Adil loses his mind and goes into the wild, leaving the city behind, never to be seen again.

Editing by John J. Catherine

(Hesen Kako of Kurdistan 24's Diyarbakir bureau contributed to this article.)