If anyone would have said to me that I would enjoy a television series with subtitles from Turkey, I would tell them they were crazy. However, proven wrong, like many other swooning women I’ve encountered in the Period Drama Group on Facebook, is this interesting series entitled, Kurt Seyit and Sura. Unlike other fictional tales, this series is based on a true story of romance during the turbulent times of World War I and the changing political climate in Russia, Crimea, and Turkey. It’s romantic and heartbreaking.
Surprisingly well done, except for a few oddities you might find difficult, it consists of forty plus episodes now streaming on Netflix. Be ready to listen to the Turkish language, however, I understand it is also available and dubbed in other languages such as Spanish. If you don’t have Netflix, you can also find clips on YouTube. Unfortunately, there is not an English version. The subtitles are in yellow and sometimes difficult to read or flash by way too fast to get through the entire sentence. Nevertheless, you can glue yourself during those really good portions and read everything to catch the drift of what is going on. The only problem is that your eyes may drift from the words to the male star, who is gorgeously handsome with mesmerizing eyes. His name is Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and his love interest, Sura, is played by Farah Zeynep Abdullah.
This true story is about star-crossed lovers from different cultures who fall madly in love with one another. Seyit’s father expects him to marry a Turkish Muslim woman, while Sura’s family expects her to marry a Russian noble. The story begins during World War I. Seyit is a Lieutenant in the Tsar’s army. He’s a well-respected soldier but has the reputation of being a womanizer. Sura walks into a room at a ball he’s attending and immediately he falls in love at first sight. She’s is young, innocent, and beautiful. As soon as she sees him, the feeling is mutual.
However, as the story continues and they get to know one another, obstacles arise. He goes off to war, and while he’s away, the rebels who plot the overthrow of the Tsar are busy beginning a revolution on the home front. Seyit, however, is Turkish by birth and his family’s home is in Crimea. If anything, this show has sent me searching the history books and trying to understand these turbulent times and culture that I know very little about.
When the war ends, Seyit and his friends are considered enemies of the new regime, since there were the Tsar’s soldiers. On the other side of the coin, Sura comes from a noble family, and she, like many other families she knows, flee Russia from those who would kill them. The heartbreaking outcome of their lives being torn apart by war, revolution, and rebels continues the series. Eventually, many of them flee to occupied Istanbul for refuge, which is not without danger. All I can say, is be prepared to watch a love story unfold that you wish for a happy ending, but in real life ends up much differently.
The story’s first half set in Russia and Crimea is far different than the second half set in Istanbul. When that part of the story begins, it’s not as engaging as their relationship begins to deteriorate due to various factors. Nevertheless, it’s worth the watch.
After doing research about the real Seyit and Sura, I discovered the sad tale that in 1945 Seyit committed suicide, having never been able to marry Sura. However, her name was on his dying lips. A book about their love affair was written in Turkish, which the series is based off, but it’s very difficult to find an English version unless you want to pay over $2,000 on Amazon.
Is this production as professional as a British or U.S. production? No, but it has its qualities. The music changes often according to the characters from a love-swept melody to a dark Russian tune for the traitor in the story. Eventually, the musical soundtrack gets a bit annoying, but if you like period dramas and a good love story, you will overlook the obvious lower quality tones of the series. Below is a YouTube rendition of the music that represents their love affair, which is the most haunting song of the entire series.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a man on a white horse to sweep you off your feet, this series is for you.