No longer able to stand her husband’s ill-treatment, Umay flees from Istanbul with her five-year-old son Cem to seek shelter in the arms of her family living in Berlin. But as the reality of Umay’s defiant actions sets in, the family’s reputation within the Turkish community at home and abroad is threatened—resulting in her sister’s engagement being rescinded and ultimately leaving little Cem’s future in question. Love, affection, and loyalty soon become irrelevant as a once caring and close-knit family painstakingly struggle to reconcile Umay’swillful self-determination with the patriarchal social system that governs their lives.
Standout performances led by award-winning actress Sibel Kekilli (lead in Fatih Akin’s acclaimed Head-On) deliver nuance and almost foolhardy earnestness to an irresolvable situation that teeters between hope and heartbreak. An award-winner at the Berlinale, Austrian actress Feo Aladag’s compelling directorial debut wrestles with the question: What sacrifice is independence truly worth? When We Leave is an incredulous film that desires to address the trauma of what it feels like to be a woman in a largely patriachal family.
Winner of The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film.
Presented in cooperation with the Goethe-institut Irland