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When We Leave (Die fremde)


GERMANY Director: Feo Aladag Producers: Feo Aladag, Zuli Aladag Screenwriter: Feo Aladag Cinematographer: Judith Kaufmann Editor: Andrea Mertens


Cast: Sibel Kekilli, Settar Tanriogen, Derya Alabora, Florian Lukas 2010/color/119 min.


FEO ALADAG


Born in 1972 in Vienna, Feo Aladag stud- ied acting, communications and psychol- ogy, graduating in 2000 with a PhD from the University of Vienna. Working as a commercial director, Aladag has also written and acted for television. In 2005, she founded the film production company Independent Artists Filmproduktion with her husband. When We Leave is her feature film debut.


This debut feature by the Austrian-born former TV actress Feo Aladag puts a fresh slant on a familiar story: Umay is a Muslim woman unhappy in her arranged marriage to Kemal, her domineering husband. After a dreamlike opening sequence, the action begins at a family dinner in Istanbul, where their son, Cem, acts up at the table and Kemal, blaming Umay, hits her one time too many. She decides on the spot to leave him and return home with Cem to her family in Berlin.


Her family is overjoyed to see her until they learn that she’s not just visiting. While her younger brother and sister are sympathetic, her parents are torn between their love for their daughter and age-old tradition. An older brother is adamant that she return to Kemal, whom he resembles in his attitudes. Umay is finally pushed to the point of fleeing to a hostel where she’s legally protected from harassment. The stipulation that she have no further contact with her family, however, proves more than she can bear.


Cinematographer Judith Kaufmann wields her camera to emphasize the claustrophobia of Umay’s world; almost lustrous close-ups of Umay reveal her fragility even as she determinedly follows the path to freedom that she has chosen. A haunting chamber score by Max Richter and Stephane Moucha speaks where words remain unsaid.


—JULIET SHERWOOD Sponsored by


154


CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


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