elias film

ROXALENA – SLAVE ON A SULTANS THRONE.  The Osmanic Harem was a secret place hidden from the outer world where no stranger could enter. It has always inspired the imagination of Western poets, writers and painters as well as composers.  For many centuries Sultans, Odalisks, Eunuchs and female slaves lived in their own world of the Harem, rigidly secluded  from the world.

The fact that nothing was known about this world hidden behind high walls fuelled the wildest speculations. Foreign diplomats, artists and travellers told stories which in turn they had been told by traders, servants or Eunuchs who had been allowed into the Harem.  

The archive of Topkapi Palace harbours hundreds of documents which were written down and illustrated by the Osmanic historians living at court. Some of these documents also report about the Harem and life within the palace.

Based on these novels and documents the film tells about this mystical place. A place inspiring the imagination - where darkeyed, veiled beauties enjoyed idleness in luxurious rooms and where seductive Odalisks were bathing. Everything was designed to fulfill the erotic desires of the Emperor.

The film also narrates the story of the Russian slave who became an Odalisk, the Emperors concubine and then the female autocrate of the palace.

This extraordinary woman named Roxalena was one of the most powerful and fascinating women who ever lived, loved and ruled in a Serail. She was the first woman who was married legally to a Sultan and then moved with her entourage to the Topkapi Palace. In the end, she gained unlimited control over her husband, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and his empire. She lived the kind of life that legends are made of.









Tugba Izgel

Süleyman The Magnificent  

Aytac Agirlar

Ibrahim Pasha

Kıvanc Baskan


Banu Sayan

Roxalenas Children                          

Deniz Yüksel, Esin Kayali, Mert Harun Calisti, Mert Coban



Flute (Ney)     

Özgür Ayhan

Zither (Kanun)           

Serkan Halili   


Susanne Dobrusskin, Wolfgang Rüter



Production Manager 

Ayse Yüksel Kayalı

Unit Manager

Ilgun Noyaner

Art Director

Levent  Kulac


Türkan Kafadar

Director of Photography

Murat Özekici                                   

Lighting Technician  

Izzet Cakir

Production Design

Tessa de Oliveira Pinto


Silvia Ocougne,  Markus Böhm          

Sounddesign and Mixer

Marcus Lomm / Picture Pan Postproduction

Screenplay and Director

Galip Iyitanir

ZDF/ARTE Editor     

Martin Pieper, Peter Allenbacher


elias film

By order of ZDF in association with ARTE

 © ZDF 2006