FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 7 – A powerful drama about a man who mistakenly says “talaq, talaq, talaq”

Posted on February 13, 2019


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-Mehmet-Akif-Buyukatalay-Oray-Mr-Jones-review/

Plus, Denis Côté’s ‘Ghost Town Anthology’, and walking out of ‘Mr. Jones’.

Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay’s Oray opens with a long monologue from a man (Zejhun Demirov) who says he was a captive until he found Islam. Whom is he talking to? We don’t see. The camera stays on this man, his words. “Either Islam or nothing. Either heaven or hell.” The speaker turns out to be Oray, a resident of Hagen, Germany. He’s married to Burcu (Deniz Orta), who doesn’t appear to be as religious. Through their half-open bedroom door, we see him kneeling and praying, while she’s engrossed in her smartphone. This doesn’t seem to come between them, though. They are in love. In lust, too. And then, after an argument that sees him marching out of their home, he calls her. She keeps hanging up. In a fit of rage, he utters these words to her voicemail: “Talaq, talaq, talaq.”

Seen one way, these are just words. We all say things we don’t mean, like… I’m going to kill you. But to Oray, this is something his religion is very clear about. He checks with a friend, who checks with the Imam. He is told that he will have to be away from Burcu for three months, during which time they will be “haram” to each other. He moves to Cologne, and stays with fellow-Turks. (These are the men, the “brothers”, he was addressing at the beginning of the film.) At first, Oray is satisfied he is doing the right thing. He convinces himself that he just said the word once: “Talaq”. That warrants only this separation, not a divorce. But soon, his conscience starts gnawing at him. An exasperated  friend tells him, “You love Burcu. She loves you. How can God keep two lovers apart?” But Oray knows what he did. He knows how many times he said those words. He knows what it means.

Continued at the link above.

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