The documentary “Canlar, Alevis/Bektashis” depicts the philosophy and the belief of the Alevis-Bektashis through the point of view based on “understanding but not believing” of Irene Melikoff, the greatest expert of Alevism and Bektashism.
As the story begins in her office in Strasbourg and passes through Hacibektas, the birth city of Bektashism and through the annual ritual gathering (Cem) of Alevis in Nurhak, it enlightens some unique concepts of Alevism, like “Can” ( inspired souls) and “Eren” (the initiated) via Alevi-Bektashi poetry. The documentary introduces the powerful meaning of Alevi-Bektashi poems and songs, through which the non written codes and philosophy of their belief system is transmitted, as well.
The poems and chantings ( nefes ) and dance (semah) of Alevis-Bektashis constitute the essence of the Alevi-Bektashi way, which the documentary shows in forms of two main rituals: Conversations (Muhabbet) and Cem of Initiation and Purification (annual ritual gathering for initiation and reconciliation). Among the great examples of this rich poetry are Nesimi, Hatayi, Virani, Pir Sultan Abdal, Edip Harabi and Feyzullah Cinar with their poems reflecting the mysticism and the politic aspect of the Alevis-Bektashis who have suffered many massacres throughout the history.