Dying to Divorce
Dying to Divorce is a documentary exploring domestic violence and femicide in Turkey from the perspective of lawyer and activist Ipek Bozkurt, showing the personal stories of her clients who have suffered at the hands of both violent partners and Turkey’s legal system. These efforts for justice are further impacted by an attempted coup d’état in the country in 2016 and subsequent lockdowns on opposition by the Turkish government: the activist groups not only have to fight for abuse victims but also have to fight for their democracy.
The film represents the struggles against domestic violence, and the efforts made in the name of justice, comprehensively and along a number of socio-political axes, ensuring no stone is left unturned in the exploration of its central issues. The piece is very intelligently paced and structured in this regard, going from individual stories to larger political issues seamlessly, with the macro filtering into and enhancing the micro in a way that makes for a very compelling watch.
While the documentary examines lofty ideals of justice and social reform, it does not neglect the people at the heart of its story or the hurt they have endured, and is critically as much a film about humanity as it is about inhumanity. Bozkurt’s clients are all united by the abuse they have suffered, but importantly are given the space to claim ownership of their individual narratives, and while this is a piece about domestic violence, the women featured are not defined by their suffering.
Dying to Divorce is a tough but powerful cinematic experience, representing complex and harrowing social issues with a delicate balance of wide-reaching political analysis and touching personal experience. It’s uncompromising in its depictions of the constant uphill struggles made every day in the name of justice, but at its core is a hopeful piece, speaking as much to the good in humanity as it does to the evils at the heart of socio-political institutions. It’s a documentary about hurt, but also about healing.
Dying to Divorce is released in select cinemas on 26th November 2021.
Watch the trailer for Dying to Divorce here: