Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Die Fremde
Germany, 2010. Independent Artists Filmproduktion, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, ARTE. Screenplay by Feo Aladag. Cinematography by Judith Kaufmann. Produced by Feo Aladag, Zuli Aladag. Music by Stephane Moucha, Max Richter. Production Design by Silke Buhr. Costume Design by Gioia Raspe. Film Editing by Andrea Mertens. European Film Awards 2010.
Married to a man she has little feeling for and raising a son in a household where they are both at the mercy of his violent temper, Sibel Kekilli leaves Istanbul and travels back to Germany where she was born to her Turkish immigrant parents. Her family members are not thrilled to see her, immediately ashamed that she brings a broken marriage into their lives for them to deal with. When Kekilli begins to suspect that her traditionally-minded brother plans to take her son away and send him back to his father, she strikes out on her own, getting a job and going back to school while avoiding the violent temper and abuse of relations who see no reason to support her choice. This hard-hitting, unapologetically grim drama gets very high points for brilliant acting and intelligent dialogue. It tells a tale of people who want to live in a world more modern than their own but do not want to live by its modern standards, and what it hints at but does not delve into is the fact that as socially ostracized cultures in a developed European nation who are kept ghettoized by dead-end employment and little opportunity to get ahead, they do not feel encouraged to integrate. This is a wholly tragic story about a person being punished simply for wanting to be human, and has terrific sequences of great drama (particularly thanks to a world class performance by Kekilli in the lead), but there is a judgmental tone about the whole thing that leaves a bad taste, and a puritan avoidance of more human emotions than just grim anticipation that shows a lack of imagination on the director’s part.