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.
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German-born Umay flees her oppressive marriage in Istanbul, taking her young son Cem with her. She hopes to find a better life with her family in Berlin, but her unexpected arrival creates intense conflict. Her family is trapped in their conventions, torn between their love for her and the traditional values of their community. Ultimately they decide to return Cem to his father in Turkey. To keep her son, Umay is forced to move again. She finds the inner strength to build a new life for herself and Cem, but her need for her family's love drives her to a series of ill-fated attempts at reconciliation. What Umay doesn't realize is just how deep the wounds have gone and how dangerous her struggle for self-determination has become... Written by
Independent Artists Filmproduktion
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.
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