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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Die Fremde (When We Leave)


An excellent film by Feo Aladag that is very disturbing film especially for westerners who have in their various cultures, customs and traditions nothing similar to what is shown here. I learned a new word thanks to this movie, Namus and to share with all here is the etymology.

The Arabic word "nāmūs" (ناموس) may mean "law", "custom", or "honor". The Hebrew words "nmūs" (נמוס) or "nūmūsā" (נומוסא) again means "law". The Ancient Greek word "nómos" (νόμος) meaning "law, custom".

And here is the context.

For a man and his family, namus, among other things, may mean sexual integrity of women in the family, their chastity in particular. On the other hand, the man has to provide for his family and to defend the namus of his house, his women in particular, against the threats (physical and verbal) to members of his extended family from the outer world.

Namus of a man is determined by namus of all the women in his family (i.e., mother, wives, sisters, daughters). In some societies, e.g., in Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan, namus goes beyond the basic family and is common for a plarina, a unit of the tribe that has a common ancestral father.

For an unmarried woman, the utmost importance is placed on virginity before marriage, and "proof of virginity" in the form of bloodstains on a bed sheet is required in some cultures to proudly demonstrate after the wedding night. Professor of sociology Dilek Cindoğlu writes: "The virginity of the women is not a personal matter, but a social phenomenon".

In the Middle East, for a woman, namus is in obedience, faithfulness, modesty (in behaviour and in dress), "appropriateness".

If you want to learn more about Namus I suggest you check wikipedia here.

Why am I talking about Namus? Because that's what the story in this movie is all about and I wished I knew about this concept before watching the film as I know would have make it a lot easier to watch, as without knowing it became almost unbearable to watch such (to me) absurd behavior in women, brothers, father, mother, siblings, etc especially in the times that we are currently living. I took it like a cultural behavior, but now I know is more than that, more than Turkish 'traditions' and the story, as well as the film, became completely different in my mind.

Excellent production values plus extraordinary performance by Sibel Kekilli makes this film totally a must be seen for every woman in the world (men too) as shows the struggle that some women have to live when they want something different for them and their children while trying to keep one of the basic life elements, family, intact.

The film tells the story of Umay (Kekilli) abused by her husband she flees Turkey with her little son and goes back to her family in Germany. Her family gives her a chilly welcome as they realize she's doing something forbidden, leaving her husband. Eventually she has to leave her "home" as the family wants to return her son to the "true owner", the father in Turkey and ends up in German protection services, who ask her not to be in touch with her family at all. But that's not easy for Umay, she needs her family. As the story unravels you will never suspect the ending, unless you learn more than what I told you about Namus.

Strongly suggest to learn about Namus before watching this film that absolutely is a must be seen. This is not a film to enjoy, but to keep the ratings system I'll will close with it. I believe that this is a film to learn something many of us westerners are totally unaware of. The film won the Label Europa Cinemas award at 2010 Berlinale and got many nominations in the 2010 German Film Awards (Lola's) including Best Director to Feo Adalag, who was better known before as an Actress but her directorial debut assures her the transition to great storyteller and filmmaker.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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