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Perspektive Deutsches Kino


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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.

Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Germany 2019

German, Turkish, Romani

100’ · Colour · 2K DCP

World premiere


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
Director of Photography
Christian Kochmann
Denys Darahan
Sound Design
Armin Badde
Armin Badde
Production Design
Jeannette Bastisch
Marisa Lattmann
Henrike Huppertsberg
Kerstin Neuwirth
Assistant Director
Tessa Langhans
Commissioning Editor
Christian Cloos
Production Manager
Daniela Dieterich
Executive Producers
Bastian Klügel, Claus Reichel
Bastian Klügel, Claus Reichel
Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
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

Produced by

filmfaust filmproduktion

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Pluto Film