The Life and Movies of Ersan Kuneri is a Turkish situational comedy series made by comedian and actor Cem Yilmaz. It tells the story of a porn star as he decides to make films in genres different than just porn. Accompanied by his crew of friends, he embarks on a journey where they make films ranging from historical romance, socialist films, science fiction and everything in between.
Ersan Kuneri is created, directed and written by Cem Yilmaz and starrs Yilmaz himself as Ersan Kuneri, Ezgi Mola as Alev, Uraz Kaygilaroglu as Ibrahim Tumtum, Merve Dizdan as Feride Orhun, Zafar Algoz as Muammer Rado, Caglan Corumlu and Altin Oran and Nilperi Sahinkaya as Seyyal.
Ersan Kuneri: Background
The character of Ersan Kuneri is not a new creation, in fact, Kuneri first appears in the 2004 sci-fi film G.O.R.A also written by Yilmaz. The Life and Movies of Ersan Kuneri is a spinoff of the 2004 film, you can watch a snippet here. The sitcom is part of the 10 new projects from Turkey up for release, according to Pelin Distas, the Netflix’s manager of original content for Turkey as per this Variety article.
In the article Distas says, “We’re proud to continue creating global opportunities for the talented artists of this great country, and sharing their authentic stories with our members in Turkey and around the world.” So hopefully, we will see more Turkish content soon on the streaming platform.
Cem Yilmaz is a very capable writer, comedian, actor and director, which is very evident if you watch Ersan Kuneri. His characteristic comic style is quite charming and will leave you in splits in some parts of the series. Ersan realises he is more than just a piece of meat using his body to attract the audience and earn money, he now wants to make films that hold meaning and have social messages.
In this venture, he includes the longtime actress of his porn films, Alev, who doesn’t really care about the social message part but wants to be included. Then there is the up and coming actress and beauty Seyyal, his colleagues Muammer, Altin, and Tumtum. Another new addition to his team is the socialist drama student Feride, who comically tries to inject socialist ideals into these commercial films.
Set in the 1070s, when the erotic film industry is at its peak, it proves to be difficult for the Kuneri crew to make these films, and as you will see, their dreams begin to unravel with each episode. Ersan Kuneri is equally entertaining and chaotic, with every character with a different objective but coming together with Kuneri as their leader in the end. With Yilmaz at the helm, the whole group is kept together and it’s sometimes very heartwarming. The characters are quick-witted, sometimes adorable and at all times fun to watch.
The pilot episode does a great job of establishing each character, all the while showing their first film, the period drama about Heracles. Since they are primarily porn actors, you will get to enjoy a lot of sex jokes. When the character of Kuneri is being punished in the film, Heracles makes some obscene gestures which are beeped by Netflix, to which Mummer, who is in captivity, says, “Well, if he’s not even allowed to say that on Netflix, then I guess it must be pretty bad, right?” The show is full of such and many other jokes which will keep you occupied throughout.
There is some social commentary as well, Ersan Kuneri is based in the 70s, and there is a lot of socialist influence on the characters, as they want to make award-winning socialist films. In one episode where they try to make Cooperative Kemal (Comerade Kemal in English), they invite some communists for a discussion about the film who end up drinking 800 cups of tea and 22 biscuits without even paying for them. Its an excellent commentary on how people used the popular ideology for personal use.
There are many references to past writers and poets such as the ancient Turkish poet Karacaoglan, like whom Kuneri and gang aspire to make art, but in their chaotic nature, end up making comical movies. So much so that during their horror movie, the audience kept laughing, which Kuneri and the gang did not take offence to, of course. The costumes are very loud and much on point, the costume department must have gone all out in their showcasing the 70s fashion.
Verdict: Definitely a fun watch
The Life and Movies of Ersan Kuneri is made like a biopic, but one which deliberately fails at it, and there lies its beauty. It’s a fun series, truly a sitcom. There are a total of eight episodes, with each episode between 56 to 38 minutes in length. The first half of the episodes shows the Kuneri gang deliberating on making their next movie and the misadventures they have, while the second half shows the movies themselves.
Be it historical drama, horror, sci-fi or anything, these goofy characters manage to make everything comical and hilarious and you will love every bit of it. There are hardly any slow moments in Ersan Kuneri, making it a fun and engaging watch. The Life and Movies of Ersan Kuneri is available to watch on Netflix here.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.