Hasan (Umut Karadag) and his wife Emine (Filiz Bozok) operate a large fruit and vegetable farm, specializing in tomatoes and apples. They are hard-working, they employ many workers and they are financially secure. But there is a dark side to their lifestyle: they are greedy. Without actually breaking the law, they will squeeze an extra Turkish lira out of anyone they can.
When a big power company wants to install a massive tower and transformer in the middle of Hasan’s fields, he uses his influence with a retired judge to have the installation moved to a fallow piece of land next door, which is owned by his brother. The brothers have not spoken in 20 years after this very same judge awarded the best part of the property to Hasan. When a friend is unable to repay a loan and is losing his land, Hasan uses insider information from a banker to buy his friend’s property at a below-market value price.
Emine is no angel either. She has ordered a quilt to be made by a poor woman. When the woman and her granddaughter deliver the quilt, Emine demands a lower price by claiming that she had ordered a quilt with a blue border, which this one doesn’t have. Everyone in the room, Emine, the old woman and Emine’s female servant/assistant, know Emine is lying. The old woman refuses to accept the reduced price, returns the deposit Emine had given her, takes back the quilt and leaves.
Then, what appears to be a bit of good news. On their third try, Hasan and Emine’s application to go to Mecca for the Hajj has been accepted. But, for Hasan and Emine, there is a catch. They have the time and money, but participation in the pilgrimage requires that they repent for all sins, even minor ones. This means asking forgiveness from anyone they have harmed in any way. This a rough one, particularly for Hasan, who is forced to confront numerous people he has cheated, slandered or misled, including his brother.
Commitment Hasan (Baglilik Hasan) is a long film, in fact, at two and a half hours, too long. But Hasan’s journey of repentance, which comes at the end and forms the heart of the story, is worth the wait.
Director Semih Kaplanoğlu considers Commitment Hasan part two in his Commitment trilogy. Part one, Commitment, deals with a woman trying to balance career and motherhood. Although they appear to be unrelated subjects, the two films both explore protagonists who are confronting their personal value systems.