Mustafa is a 2008 Turkish documentary directed and written by Can Dündar and produced in Turkey. It is about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's personal life, the founder and first president of Republic of Turkey. This is the first documentary covering Atatürk's life from his early years to his death. The film's release coincided with the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
The film contains no revelations about his personal life. "Mustafa" is the first film that depicts the private side of the deified leader. The film depicts the authoritarian character of Atatürk, his military genius, his progressive ideas that inspired major political, economic and cultural reforms.
Shootings of the film took nine months. The locations of these shootings include Thessalonica, Istanbul, Berlin, Damascus, Sofia and Carlsbad.
Atatürk's personal story is not well known in the West. The criticism is based on the level of his portrayal in the film. It is a largely sympathetic portrayal. The film included scenes showing him susceptible to depression and fond of women and alcohol. It is claimed that these scenes degraded the historical significance and served the interests of Islamists. Dundar's film provoked a heated national debate.
Dundar said that the film reveals the face of a genuine and sensitive leader. The Turkish Minister of Culture has also spoken in defence: He was a human being just like the rest of us, with his hopes, disappointments, his demons and moments of happiness.
Prof. Ahmet Ercan and Prof. Orhan Kural, the heads of anti-smoking groups, filed a complaint arguing that the chain-smoking and heavy drinking portrayed in the film is the advertisement of cigarette companies.
Dündar testified before the Ankara Prosecutors Office in December 2008 with regard to allegations of promoting smoking and insulting Atatürk's legacy.
During the first week of its release in Turkey the film was shown in more than 200 theaters. It was seen by 772,694 people in the first 12 days. Some of its critics used the media to discourage people from seeing it. Turkcell, Turkey's main mobile phone provider, pulled out of a sponsorship deal, claiming they had no knowledge concerning the fact that the film would concentrate on Atatürk's personal life. Some media referred to Bregovic as a Bosnian musician, while others modified his name to Zoran, but his music was praised.
The film was also screened during the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany on October 16, 2008.
Directed by Can Dündar
Written by Can Dündar
Music by Goran Bregović
Editing by Candan Murat Özcan
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 29, 2008
Running time 130 min.
Budget $11 million