Monday, July 6, 2020

Sherry Hormann's film, A REGULAR WOMAN, revisits a horrific honor killing in Germany

If you're a foreign-film buff, you will perhaps remember a movie from a decade ago entitled When We Leave, submitted by Germany to qualify in the Oscar category of Best Foreign Language Film. Its subject was the Muslim honor killing of a young woman, and though it was not a very good film, its story has been made into a motion picture once again, this time under the title of A REGULAR WOMAN. The new film is, like its predecessor, German produced but is directed by American-born fillmmaker, Sherry Hormann.

Ms. Hormann, shown at right, has done a remarkable job of telling anew this truly awful tale of fundamentalist religion trumping even the most basic and necessary tenets of family. Her approach is very close to documentary -- using a plethora of "still" shots -- and this not only works surprisingly well, it even adds to the momentum and punch of the wily narrative (the screenplay is by Florian Ă–ller).

Hormann's film begins at very nearly the end of the tale, and her movie is actually narrated by its heroine, Aynur, now deceased, who slyly introduces herself as possibly one of several lively and attractive young women we see on the street.

Then we flashback to Aynur, beautifully portrayed by Almila Bagriacik, first as an eighth-grader about to be sent to her family's homeland, Turkey, to be married to an older cousin who, soon enough, turns out to be an abusive spouse. From the outset, the film steeps us in the "traditions" of fundamentalist Muslim culture -- especially regarding the "ownership" of women.

As the film progresses, we see not only how the current religion, as practiced on the males (especially the young) who attend the mosque, effectively destroys what ought to be a loving family life, but also how this has been going on for so long now that it is accepted as utterly normal by both the men and the women.

Once the pregnant Aynur has returned from Turkey and her abusive spouse to live with her family again, she begins to understand just how awful is the situation for women via these fundamentalist Muslim beliefs. Slowly she begins to respond. Regarding the headscarf: "I start to wonder what Allah finds so bad about my hair."

Rather than simply being a catalog of abuses, the film finds a lot of smart humor and irony in its grievous situations -- without ever losing its momentum or the enormous sense of rage that continues to build up in both Aynur and the viewer. If your blood pressure has not gone into overdrive by the conclusion, I shall be surprised. TrustMovies felt he could use a class in anger management by the time those end credits rolled.

Another worthwhile movie from the newly rejiggered Corinth Films, A Regular Woman hit virtual theaters last month and will eventually find its way to home video, I'm sure. Click here for more information on how you can view it now.

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