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When We Leave -- a woman's desperate attempt at a new life

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When We Leave

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Umay feels she must take her son and leave the brutal and unloving home of her husband and his family in Istanbul, and go back to Germany where her Turkish family lives. Unfortunately, even though her family loves her, they have not given up their traditional Muslim culture, nor can they withstand the pressures of the transplanted Turkish community in which they thrive. She left her husband and took his child. And in the Muslim culture, this brings shame to the family. Umay tries desperately to maintain her independence even though she is being pressured to return to her husband. She must separate herself from her family if she is to keep her child from being taken by her husband. She has to be able to sever all ties with her family to be able to live an independent life with her son. Being brought up in a traditional Muslim family makes this a very painful and possibly dangerous endeavor.

It is expected now that almost all films coming out of Muslim countries, such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, etc., are about the hardships women face, the oppression, abuse and lack of all human rights. There seem to be only two themes coming out of these countries: subjugation of women and war. Are these films shown withWWhen n their countries of origin? Does anybody there realize that cultural bias against women is a situation that is unacceptable in the rest of the world? Have these many, many films made any impact at all in Muslim countries? 'When We Leave,' taking place in both Turkey and Germany, seems to be a blueprint for the Turkish women who have immigrated with their families to Germany to join its work force. The one remaining hurdle for Muslim women who are able to leave their country's stranglehold on their personal freedoms is to be able to leave their families' emotional hold on them. It seems obvious to me that pointing the way in this regard is the goal of director/writer Feo Aladag. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it...

In any case, with the freedom fights going on in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and more to follow, it will be interesting to see how women fare once the dust has settled.

When We Leave

Director: / Writer: Feo Aladag
Cast: Sibel Kekilli, Florian Lukas, Alwara Hofels, Nursel Kose, Derya Alabora, Settar Tanriogen
Time: 119 min.
Opening March 4 at the Opera Plaza Theatre in San Francisco

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