At a raucous wedding party in rural Turkey, it’s clear there’s something not quite right about the union between a country lass and her young husband, whose folks are expatriate Turks in Vienna. Once in Austria, naïve bride Ayse (Begüm Akkaya) soon discovers her fate: she’s now the unofficial second wife of her new husband’s middle-aged dad, whose cancer-stricken spouse, Fatma (Nihal G Koldas), is no longer available for marital duties. It’s a shocking development, not least because Ayse accepts it so easily. She even warmly befriends ailing Fatma.
The true-life subject matter makes for chewy drama while also exploring the issue of women’s rights, an absolute pressure point in the tensions between tradition and modernity affecting Muslim culture. That said, this first feature peaks early, then overloads itself with melodrama in a clumsy attempt to keep the heat up. It’s not completely satisfying, yet the core scenario is fascinating, and the cast performs strongly in the claustrophobic settings of the story’s close-knit immigrant community.