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Film Reviews


A Hauntingly Devastating Tale (Review: A REGULAR WOMAN)

"Being a disgrace means breaking with tradition. Being a disgrace means having your own mind."

Director Sherry Hormann's film, A REGULAR WOMAN, tells a hauntingly devastating tale based on the true story of Hatun "Aynur" Sürücü, who was shot by her brother in an "honor killing".

Aynur (Almila Bagriacik) just wants to live, and be her own person. A German woman of Turkish descent, her Sunnis Kurdish upbringing prevents her from doing that. The film begins as she is married off to her cousin in Istanbul, and continues documenting her life all the way to the trial for her death. Narrated by the dead woman herself, we see her push to become independent, and so plays out a very straightfoward checklist of events that lead to her family performing the honor killing: she leaves her husband (check), she leaves her family to start her own life with her baby, Can (check), she gets a job and has extramarital partners (check, check)...

Her brothers refuse to accept her chosen lifestyle, threatening her and calling her on the phone or showing up in public simply to insult her. Aynur lets us know well ahead of time what is to happen in this gripping biopic, but the horror of knowing may be even worse as we watch the pieces of the family's plan slowly click into place.

Video footage of the real Sürücü flows seamlessly with the staged accounts of her life, as do freeze frames of the dramatized scenes which feel like snapshots from a case file, creating a strange, chilling tone caught between nostalgia and sterile obligation.

While Bagriacik makes us fall in love with Aynur, Rauand Taleb makes a strong case for hatred playing Nuri, the murderer. The entire cast does a thorough job of revealing the despicable situation the family has gotten itself caught up in.

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