sinecine ISSN: 1309-5838

Visual Narration of the Nation Fantasy: The Water Diviner


The aim of this paper is to discuss the important role of the film The Water Diviner (Russell Crowe, 2014) in the reconstruction of Turkish nationality through the relationship between fear and the images that shape collective desire. It is possible to argue that the nation narrative and national identity are continuous, since they are transformed into a structure that penetrates daily life practices and becomes banal. Although the images in the reconstruction process have the characteristics of masculine hegemonic structure, in reality they have feminine meaning. The approaches taken by Anthias and Yuval-Davis when analyzing the roles of women in national narrations help to decode the feminine meaning that penetrates daily life practices. Regarding this discussion, aspects of the film that contribute to Turkish nationalistic expression – a new way of thinking presented by the film – are studied. Moreover, the organic and inorganic relations between the construction of femininity and the nation narrative, the presence of gender roles in national identities that are positioned by image repertoires, are also examined.

When the movie is interpreted semantically, it could be suggested that the warrior male myth is in the center of the national narrative. Masculine discourse relocates the family and concepts of honor to the center of the process resulting in national identity. The female body is symbolized in a framework idealizing these concepts. When image repertoires in the relationship between national narratives and gender are considered, it might seem that the female character is secondary to the male character/hero. Female characters undertake the duty of conveying the values of loyalty, honor, and dependence that are produced by the masculine discourse, in other words, the duty of carrying the community.

Keywords: Nationalism, Turkish nationalism, gender, the other, collective memory.