2003, History  -   6 Comments
Ratings: 6.98/10 from 55 users.

Harem is a fascinating attempt to separate fact from seedy legend. The viewer is placed inside Istanbul's Topkapi Palace during the 16th century reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, and given an authoritative glimpse into the lives of the concubines who worked and resided there.

Undoubtedly, there have been many stories about the Imperial harem that have been passed down throughout the years, and they've only grown more fanciful and salacious with each passing generation. That's presented a great challenge to modern day researchers and enthusiasts of the time period. This probing feature-length documentary presents the most historically accurate version of events that is currently available.

The harems were not the sex-drenched establishments many have been led to believe. The concubines were trained and mannered for the purpose of reproduction, and the Sultan was selective in choosing who would conceive his heir. The birth mothers did not have the same rights that were afforded to a Sultan's wife, but they were nevertheless entrusted with the care and nurturing of each child throughout their development. Of course, only one of them could become heir. When that moment came, custom dictated that they were to compete for the throne, and that the chosen one would be required to assassinate his siblings.

The filmmakers illustrate how these young girls were taken and molded from an early age. At times, the harem resembled an all-female university setting as each pupil was given rigorous training in religion, etiquette, and embroidery. In most cases, the harem women were better educated than most females in society.

The most riveting segment of the film recounts the unusual relationship between the Sultan and his concubine Hurrem, a slave girl from Russia who first entered the harem in 1520. She quickly became the Sultan's favorite, and ultimately gave birth to four of his five sons. Departing wildly from custom, the two fell in love and eventually married. This sparked a controversy that harbored seismic political and cultural implications.

Featuring polished reenactments and an ongoing commentary from a panel of expert historians, Harem shows us how these young innocents would ultimately play a central role in the history of the region.

Directed by: Paul Bryers

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3 years ago

(quote) We Are All Getting Dumber, (New) Science Proves, and No One Is Sure Why Are our terrible diets, bad schools, tech obsession, and increasingly trashy media to blame?
By (new) i mean within the last 10,000 years
when there was nothing we fought for food we fought for sex
now we fight to be the rich smart ones and tell everybody that they are stupider than
What`s wrong with religion (nothing)
but its like the guy with gun its not the guns fault

Miranda Ivie
Miranda Ivie
6 years ago

I agree with Jeff, these young girls were not asking to be moddeled into glorified baby mommas. Literally the only thing they’re worth is their uterus. But no this was a privilege. Come on people : ( romanticized BS

6 years ago

These people talk about Islamic sex slavery as if it's a beautiful thing and us ignorant Westerner's just don't get it.

6 years ago

Guns don't kill by themselves, people pull the trigger. Are not religions comprised of those who are in them? Will banning guns stop murder? Banning knives? Banning rocks? Will banning religions bring peace when you allow those who gain advantage by banning(preventing) peace to roam free to repeat? Will they not find another way to manipulate people into doing the wrong thing?

What about the religion of govt? The oft repeated stepping on bodies to get to a position where the arrogant who cannot leave others alone declare that their old, tried and miserably failed ideas to bring peace and help the world; the old rotted Marxist(socialist-communist) ideas that they put a new name to (like progressive), in hopes that will fool enough of the populace that they are manipulating into believing it is good and righteous to steal the populace's money and give it to them so they can live higher and claim virtue by dribbling a bit of it to "the needy" while squandering most of it elsewhere, when all they are is thieves who created an army of lazy voters claiming they deserve more free stuff. Some of those religions were helping the truly needy until the arrogant know betters came along and robbed the truly needy to give to the lazy... because of course they certainly know better the needs of the spirit which has been hammered in those less fortunate. Would that not be evil to rob someone of the real help they need, supplant that, and distract them with easy free stuff; that isn't free at all. The help of govt is worse than no help, which robs others through ever increasing taxes to get it. But they are the good guys, the Robin Hood, because the rich have enough or don't deserve it they claim...

Really? And just who are these pretend benevolent politicians who manipulate the downtrodden? The very same that keep them down, never give them a real opportunity to rise up to become independent and not need the likes of govt. That is that type of govt's worst fear, to become irrelevant and not needed. So keep them down they must do.

Are all religions the same? That is like calling the baby the same as the bath water and tossing them both out.

If its not a religion Suggesting you have room to improve, then it is another one TELLING you how to live. The religion of govt is as bad as any at that. Are these 3 religions equal?

Ah but we are taught that no one is better. Well the elites tell themselves they are better but that is only because they allowed their ego to take over their mind rather than them observing their ego into its proper place. However, it is not the person so much, it is the rotted ideas they have bought into because that serves them in some way. A convenient coat rack they can hang their hat on while fooling themselves as well as the rest.

Evil is as evil does. It lurks where ever good men fail to show the evil doers for what they are... so those who are preoccupied and cannot think it through themselves, can see it.

7 years ago

All religions need to be banned and pushed under the carpet,,,IF we want peace,,