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Elaha 18

Milena Aboyan, Germany, 2024, 110m.

The screening on Sunday April 28, will be introduced by Reclaim The Frame.

Reclaim The Frame is a charity that champions marginalised perspectives in cinema, connecting with audiences and communities through special screenings and events across the UK. Reclaim The Frame events create a space to discuss what's under the surface of each story. If you want to be an Advocate for the work they do, join the Reclaim The Frame mailing list.


'There was a moment in my life when others ruled over me, and I didn’t have the courage to fight back. It almost broke me. Until I asked the right question…are you the woman you want to be?'

Elaha’s wedding is fast approaching and she is urgently looking for a solution to cover up the fact that she’s no longer a virgin. As she grapples with the reality of her future and her reputation within her Kurdish- German community, Elaha covertly looks into the possibility of hymen reconstruction in time for her wedding night. Milena Aboyan’s feature debut examines the complex internal struggles of maintaining family and cultural expectations, while fulfilling personal desires as a woman today.

Bayan Layla’s powerful portrayal of a young woman in search for the path of least resistance, along with Reclaim The Frame Filmonomics alum Derya Durmaz as her mother, set the stage for a hauntingly gripping performance. When playing the role of daughter, sister, student, wife, is a woman allowed to choose her own destiny?

The Garden Cinema View:

Elaha's realisation that her broken hymen could jeopardise her arranged wedding and ostracise her from her Kurdish community is the starting point of this suspenseful coming-of-age film. Torn between honoring her Kurdish heritage and yearning for autonomy, it's thrilling to watch Elaha finally prioritizing her desires outside a rigid patriarchal framework.

The film's greatest strength is the warm, empathetic lens through which it portrays the Kurdish community, which draws us deeply into Elaha's internal conflict as she navigates the complexities of growing up between two distinct cultures. Where does Elaha truly belong - with her Kurdish family and traditions, or forging her own path in a Western world? This uneasy, central question keeps us captivated throughout.

Elaha is a powerful debut for director Milena Aboyan and features an outstanding performance by the charismatic Bayan Layla, who carries the film.

Bayan Layla, Armin Wahedi Yeganeh, Derya Durmaz, Derya Dilber

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