Monday, February 21, 2011

The Cinematheque Reviews:
When We Leave

This German film's biggest fault is its rather conventional storytelling.  A fault made greater by the importance of its subject - that of the so-called honor killings in Muslim communities around the world - and the necessity to get said subject out in the open.  Of course, this very importance may have led to its filmmaker, Austrian born German actress-turned-first time director Feo Aladag, worrying more about getting her message across to as many people as possible than making a film that thinks outside the box - therefore compounding the film's conventionality.  

The film's biggest asset on the other hand, is that of lead actress Sibel Kekilli.  German born, of Turkish decent, Kekilli, most noted for her grand performance in Fatih Akin's Head-On, gives a brilliantly nuanced, bravura performance as a woman running from the patriarchal madness that is her culture.  Does her performance outweigh Adalag's conventional direction?  Perhaps, but only to a point I suppose.  Which in the end, means I do give this movie the proverbial thumbs up (to usurp a copyrighted term from Siskel & Ebert - for just one quick moment) even if I have reservations about certain aspects thereof (though the stunning shot below, one of the few happy moments in the film, is not one of them).  

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