Critic Reviews for Kuma
The true-life subject matter makes for chewy drama while also exploring the issue of women's rights.
This is nicely accomplished migrant melodrama from debuting Kurdish-Austrian film-maker Umut Dağ, realised with humanity and tremendously touching performances (particularly from the women).
The premise of this sensitive drama is so chilling that it's not easy to watch. But events unfold in such a naturalistic way that we are drawn in emotionally.
The results are as intriguing as the subject is vexing.
The most forceful moments amount to wordless transmissions of pain or longing across dinner tables or supermarket counters. Tuned in to Kuma's wavelength, we feel privileged to pick them up.
Audience Reviews for Kuma
Centered on two women from a Turkish family living in Vienna, this sensitive and involving drama takes a careful time to let us understand them instead of judging their actions - thanks especially to Koldas and Akkaya, who perfectly convey all the emotion needed for their roles.
Young Turkish girl Ayse (Akkaya) marries the handsome Hassan (Muslu) in her small rural village before moving with her husband to his home in Vienna, Austria. The marriage is a sham, however, designed solely to appease the Austrian authorities. On paper, Ayse has married Hassan, but in reality she has become the second wife of Mustafa (Erincin). His first wife, Fatma (Koldas), is accepting of the arrangement as she expects to die from cancer soon. However, Mustafa is the one who passes away, following a heart attack. Ayse becomes the new joint head of the family, much to the chagrin of Mustafa's daughters, who are roughly the same age as her and identify themselves as Austrians rather than Turks. For practically every Western European country, the current political hot topic is immigration. Liberal societies find themselves struggling to accommodate those who arrive from the ultra-conservative culture of Islam. We've seen the issue addressed in several recent films but Turkish-Austrian film-maker Dag is the first to tackle this subject from the side of the Islamic immigrants. Like the sons and daughters of Mustafa, Dag appears to consider himself closer to Austrian culture than that of Islam. The film heavily critiques Islamic culture but does so in an overly melodramatic fashion. If a Muslim family appeared in a TV soap opera, I imagine their story-line would hit all the cliched points we get here; a character is secretly homosexual (Dag seems to offensively suggest Austrian society has "turned" him), while another one embarks on an affair in the local Turkish supermarket. There's not one twist you can't see coming and, while some elements may shock you if you're a radical conservative who lives with your head in the sand, it's all old hat if you're a corrupted western infidel. Akkaya, a stunning and charismatic actress, puts in a great performance but if you want to see a critique of Islam handled in a more mature fashion, I suggest you check out Haifaa Al-Mansour's excellent 'Wadjda'.
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