In an argument with his wife Burcu, Oray pronounces the Islamic word for separation, ‘talaq’. The Imam informs him of the consequences: Oray must now part from Burcu for three months. Oray uses the enforced break in their relationship to make a fresh start and moves to Cologne. Here, he finds a job at a flea market and seeks out a new Muslim religious community, led by the young Imam Bilal. Soon, Oray begins preaching himself; he is especially popular with the younger members of the congregation, and this makes Bilal jealous. When Burcu pays her husband a surprise visit, they realise that the break has done them good and they still love each other. Oray asks Bilal for advice. But the latter advocates a stricter interpretation of Islamic law than the imam in Oray’s community back home: pronouncing ‘talaq’ he says, does not mean a break, but a divorce. Director Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay employs a quasi-documentary style to tell the story of an individual exhausting himself as he works his way through a religion’s complex belief system and his search for fulfilment as a human caught between his belief in love and his love for his faith.
by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
with Zejhun Demirov, Deniz Orta, Cem Göktaş, Faris Yüzbaşıoğlu, Mikael Bajrami, Fırat Barıs Ar, Kais Setti, Ferhat Keskin, Şahin Eryılmaz, Ramon Machtolf
Germany 2019 German, Turkish, Romani 100’ Colour


  • Zejhun Demirov (Oray)
  • Deniz Orta (Burcu)
  • Cem Göktaş (Bilal)
  • Faris Yüzbaşıoğlu (Tanju)
  • Mikael Bajrami (Ebu Bekir)
  • Fırat Barıs Ar (Abdussamed)
  • Kais Setti (Muhammed)
  • Ferhat Keskin (Süleyman)
  • Şahin Eryılmaz (Hamza)
  • Ramon Machtolf (Osman)


Written and Directed by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
Cinematography Christian Kochmann
Editing Denys Darahan
Sound Design Armin Badde
Sound Armin Badde
Production Design Jeannette Bastisch
Costumes Marisa Lattmann
Make-Up Henrike Huppertsberg
Casting Kerstin Neuwirth
Assistant Director Tessa Langhans
Commissioning Editor Christian Cloos
Production Manager Daniela Dieterich
Executive Producers Bastian Klügel, Claus Reichel
Producers Bastian Klügel, Claus Reichel
Co-Producer Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
Co-Production Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
ZDF – Das kleine Fernsehspiel Mainz

Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Born in Bad Hersfeld, Germany in 1987, he grew up in the German city of Hagen. He studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne with a focus on film and literature and is a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. He currently lives and works in Cologne.


2008 Wie ich lernte Skifahren zu hassen; short film 2012 Ömer, the Lord; short documentary 2013 Vor dem Tor des Ijtihad; short film 2014 31 Szenen einer Jugend; experimental short film 2016 Der Metzger; short film 2018 Oray

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019