Three friends decide to abandon their poverty-stricken village and try their luck in Çukurova, a cotton-growing region in southern Turkey. Their search for better lives leads them from construction sites to factories to cotton fields, as they discover at every turn a system designed for exploitation and the frustration of their dreams. Based on a novel by Orhan Kernal, On Fertile Lands was one of a number of works of the era that offered a critical view of the common people of the region. Banned by the military government after the 1980 coup, On Fertile Lands was for a number of years virtually a lost film: all existing prints were confiscated, and even the negative was stolen. Years later, the negative was recovered—from a Swiss film studio!—and a restored copy of the film was premiered to a packed house at the 2008 Istanbul Film Festival.