Free Special Screening of Feo Aladag’s Die Fremde (When We Leave)

Location: Tara Building, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Date/Time: Tuesday, 15th November 2011, at 7pm

There was a good turnout for this special Irish viewing of Feo Aladag’s Die Femde at Mary Immaculate College. The event was organised by the Mary I Film Club with the support of the Goethe Institut Dublin and the generous sponsorship of the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland. It was quite a unique event as the Film Club was granted permission to screen this contemporary film free to the public.

The event was opened by Dr. Christiane Schönfeld, head of the German Studies Department in Mary Immaculate College. She gave a brief overview of the plot and contextualised the film. She did this by speaking about the high rate in Germany of honour killings and the contentious issue of women’s rights in minority groups. She explained that while the film had been shown on European Day in the European Parliament office in May, it was not on general release in Ireland. This illustrated what a treat we were about to have. It was an extremely thought provoking film that covered many themes of family, spousal abuse, honour killings, gender roles, ethnic diversity and clashes of cultures all contained within the small sphere of a tight knit minority community. All these issues are highly relevant not only in modern Europe but also in contemporary Ireland.

What was amazing about the film was that it was the debut feature of German actress-turned-director Feo Aladag. She dealt with the material in a highly sensitive manner. There was an audience discussion afterwards that raised many questions not only about the film but more so about the divisive themes it covered. The general consensus was that these issues should be discussed more in light of multiculturalism. The film records how one day, out of the blue, twenty-five year old Umay turns up at her parents’ Berlin apartment with her young son Cem. It transpires that Umay has run away from an abusive marriage in Istanbul and has decided she wants an independent life in Germany. She resists all attempts by her parents try to restore the family’s reputation by returning Cem to his father. This forces Umay to put an end to her and Cem’s relationship with her parents. She then falls in love with Stipe and begins a new life with her son. Umay however keeps trying to reconcile with her parents, which leads to an unexpected conclusion.

The film has won several awards, including  2010  European Parliament’s LUX prize, which is awarded by the European Parliament. According to the parliaments Dublin website the LUX Prize is aimed at films that stimulate cultural diversity and promote public debate on themes of Europe-wide interest. The Prize is awarded annually by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from shortlists of 10 and then 3 films. Some of the previous films that have won this prize are: Auf der Anderen Seite by Fatih Akin (2007), Le Silence de Lorma by the Dardenne brothers (2008) and Welcome by Philppe Lloret (2009). Die Fremde also won Best Feature & Best Actress at Tribeca 2010, Best Film in Bronze & Best Leading Actress at the  German Film Awards 2010, German Camera Award 2010, Best Film at Ghent 2010, Best Film  at Sao Paulo 2010, Best European Film in the Panorama section of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and many more.

Eleanor McSherry



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