When We Leave Poster

When We Leave (2010)

Rayting:   7.5/10 5.2K votes
Country: Germany
Language: German | Turkish
Release date: 4 November 2010

Umay is a young woman of Turkish descent, fighting for an independent and self determined life in Germany against the resistance of her family. Her struggle initiates a dynamic, which results in a life threatening situation.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

mgungora 21 March 2011

The basic plot is simple: a young lady with a crazy in-laws feds up and leaves making her a total outcast. The acting seemed a bit too dramatic and overly polished. The actors are obviously talented and have done their best, but it showed that they were trying too hard, which took away the realism I was anticipating. More than a few scenes were simply yelling and slapping which I've found quite raw. The close-ups were nice generally with beautiful faces, occasionally with oblique views. At times, when we were shown a scene with people staring at each other silently which meant that the discussion was over, I wondered if that was really the case and not if we were witnessing a zen moment. As a side note, I just have to point out that the subject of film has little to do with religion or being a "muslim". The problem is far too deep which is really a sociological phenomena rooted in dogmatic cultural upbringings and a feudal life style (mostly) of the eastern part of country where people are just a dot in the family picture rather than individuals with autonomy. You could see that nobody in the family wanted to be a part of what was going on but they could not behave otherwise -- they were slaves of their communities even thousands of miles away.

djansen24 10 August 2014

This film is very realistic. Its detailed depiction of one Turkish family living in Berlin casts overtones for a greater problem of European multiculturalism. But forget the wider scope of those implications for now. The film is very focused on Turkish culture within Germany and one of its great weaknesses: what it considers to be saving the "honor" of the family. The older daughter in the film has left her violent and abusive husband in Turkey and moved back to her family in Germany. Her parents immediately side with her husband, and they repeatedly ask the daughter to return to him. But the daughter has sacrificed much to get away, and will not return. After an attempt to kidnap her son and return him to the father fails, she moves out...and moves again...and moves again as problems mount. Her younger brother and sister, although initially supportive of her, slowly begin to turn against her as the shame of her living independently with child causes the Turkish community to isolate the family. This ultimately leads to a final decision by the men in the family, with tragic results.

The family is Muslim, although Islam is not portrayed as the reason why the family is shamed by the older daughter. In the culture, it is easy for an independent woman to bring shame to the family, especially if she leaves her husband. At no time do the parents ever seriously consider the perspective of their daughter. It is quite clear, she has to maintain the family honor at all costs; which in this case means returning to her husband. As the daughter continues to make unwise choices by maintaining contact with her family because she loves them, the unwritten codes of this "honor" system will drive the family into greater acts of cruelty. This film can make you very angry indeed at the injustice to women done by patriarch based communal cultures. The "honor" that they cling to is so twisted. It is based on a superficial sense of righteousness that has little basis in truth. It is more concerned with appearances than justice. More concerned with blind obedience than righteousness. And that concept is promoted in Islam, though not exclusively.

This film should be mandatory viewing for any woman in similar straits as the main character in the film who has needed to separate from the family for safety. The Germans have provided good resources for such women, but they are advised, "For now, avoid contact with your family." One of this beautifully done film's main points is: Once you leave or are forced to leave the family, it may be for good. You cannot expect your family to sympathize with you, support you, or even accept you as family. There is a good chance they WILL turn against you if the community slanders the family. And a woman who leaves her abusive husband, lives alone, calls the police for safety, or takes any action to safeguard her life and livelihood may very well be thought of as nothing more than a "whore" by the rest of the German Turkish community. Contact your family again at risk to your life! I would wish that Turkish men (those who are perpetrators, that is) who see this would also feel ashamed for some of their sexist standards, but I don't know if they would...

The film is very moving and well done. The actors all fulfill their roles, particularly the leading lady. The eye communication of the cast is extremely profound, leaving you wondering about all of the unspoken thoughts stewing in their heads. The writing allows sympathy with all of the charact

ssdd_000 10 October 2014

I would like to thank everyone who created this heart breaking movie, you might question the story line if it's true story or not. I have signed up just to tell you that it's true and some women who have suffered like Umay and had experienced much more greater pain and near death experience from there own family. I'm one of them.. a 30 years old woman with 7 years old child. The difference between me and Umya is that when she found the door locked in her family place, she called the police And  I can't ! the difference is she is living in country that respects humans and offer help to anyone in danger while I'm not .. I'm living in the most restricted religious  country that gave men the power in everything to control a women life. I have called violence police unite and they couldn't reach me. I have been threatened by machine gun day and night. I can't take my son and run away cause nothing can be done without guardian permission. My story continues and this movie have given my strength to fight my own battle. The question will remains (am I allowed to take the decision of my son's life.. or  leave my son with my family so he do experience the life of a refugee with his mom ?) Thank you again ..  this movie touched my heart and I'll always remember Umay ..

rubenm 13 March 2011

After seeing this film, I assumed it was directed by a Turkish director named Feo Aladag. When I googled this name, a picture of a young blond woman filled the screen. As it turned out, Feo Aladag is an Austrian actress/director, married to Turkish/German author Zuli Aladag, who is also the producer of Die Fremde.

I mention this because I think it is important. In this film, the Turkish community in Germany is not pictured in a very favourable way. The story shows the fate of Umay, a young Turkish/German woman who wants a divorce because her husband beats her and because, perhaps more importantly, she doesn't love him. She leaves her husband and moves with her young son to her family in Berlin. Surprisingly, her father and brother take sides with her husband and urge her to return to him. In their view, she has dishonoured her husband and her own family by separating her son from his father. This conflict escalates in a dramatic way, with terrible consequences.

The film pictures Umay as a woman who is denied her 'Western' rights as a woman and a mother, and shows her family as driven by 'non-Western' values like honour and tradition. For them, the community is superior over the individual. For her, it's the other way round.

The message is pessimistic. Umay is a Turkish woman who adopts the German lifestyle. She wants to live her own life. She follows the integration model that the Turkish people in Western Europe are supposed to follow. But her brother and sister don't support her, although they are born and raised in Germany. They speak the German language, but think the Turkish way.

Like some of the films of Faith Akin (in which lead actress Sibel Kekilli also starred) this film focuses on the problems of the Turkish community in Germany. But it has a darker and more pessimistic tone. It's a very powerful movie, dealing with a very urgent issue.

amazon-41 23 August 2010

Within 30 seconds of the film's opening scene, we know we're entering a complex, and very real world.

Later we see Umay, our lead character, lying on a doctor's table and we immediately fall in love with her. There is something magical and loving about the way the camera moves around her. That's all the character development we need, but this heroine (and I mean this in a literal sense; Umay, to me, is a hero in the best sense of the word) continues to evolve and reveal amazing traits in a complicated situation that mere mortals would fold under.

This Turkish film is about familial bonds, deep and abiding love and human rights. It attempts to bridge the gap between traditional cultures and their inherent focus on family as one's primary means of survival, and post-industrial (Western) culture in which human rights and dignity are of paramount importance.

'When We Leave' reminds us westerners of what we sacrificed in the name of economic and political progress while illuminating what is now, to us, a little-understood truth: The "Old Days" weren't always "The Good old Days."

I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Sibel Kekilli's performance as Umay must be the finest role, male or female, of the entire year. And what a face! One could watch the entire film with no audible dialog and be transfixed throughout by this wonderful actor's countenance. Too bad she won't be considered for a Oscar!

Radu_A 6 September 2010

The treatment of Muslim societies in the media in general and in film in particular has been subject to much agenda setting and bias. On the one hand, this has led to frequently arrogant defamation of the cultures of one fifth of humanity, on the other hand, the discourse has helped to highlight problems of Muslim integration which are often ignored under the convenient excuse of multiculturalism. What is more important: respect for other cultures living among us or concern for the plight of the individual subjected to an excessive chauvinism that allows for nothing but submission to it?

Feo Aladag's position on this is clear, but she avoids simplifications by sticking to one woman's story, and keeping that story close, while not identical, to the events that inspired it - namely the much publicized 2005 murder of Hatun Sürücü in Berlin, albeit with a surprising twist. Some may find the depictions of a regressive macho cult in German-Turkish families and social life exaggerated, especially since the acting of the supporting cast is a bit shaky at times. But as someone who has lived in a Turkish neighborhood in Berlin, I have to declare it's not. It's disturbingly close to the truth - not the distorted truth of tabloids, but the truth of people I'm close to.

The minimalistic approach of the film would usually render it a rather harmless affair, in spite of its controversial subject matter - were it not for Sibel Kekilli's outstanding performance, for which she received, among other awards, best actress at the Tribeca festival. Her heartfelt, knowing and yet forgiving gaze at the suffocating world she lives in speaks of personal experience with the role she portrays. 'When we leave' establishes her as the most exciting German actress of today.

It should be noted, by the way, that Islamic law does not condone honorary murders and considers these just as much as crimes as Western law does. Also, this practice is not exclusive to Muslim societies, but used to be widespread in Christian countries as well, where it might still occur as a justification for homicide. But these clarifications could not have been included in this film, which tells one story, and tells it well.

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