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Dir. Milena Aboyan
110 min

A stellar example of new German directing and acting talent, Milena Aboyan’s assured and nuanced fiction debut follows the beautiful, lively title character (Bayan Layla), a 22-year-old German woman of Iraqi-Kurdish descent caught between her own modern ways and the traditions of her loving family. Her parents’ favorite saying is, "The damage done to the herd is an embarrassment for the shepherd” and Elaha knows that for them, protecting one’s honor and avoiding shame are cardinal values. Even if Elaha, who lives at home, doesn’t always agree with the patriarchal rules, she respects and appreciates most Kurdish traditions. However, she has a secret which weighs heavily on her. She is due to be married in three months and she is not a virgin. To avoid humiliating family, she desperately searches for a way to reconstitute her hymen. In the process, she faces more and more existential questions. –Alissa Simon

Awards: Bavarian Film Award; Best Actress; New Faces Award, Director and Actress; First Steps Award for Bayan Layla.

Content advisory: violence, mature themes

Film Details

Release Year: 2023
Runtime: 110 min
Country/Region: Germany
Language: German, Kurdish
Print Source: Pluto Film
Tags: Drama, Human Rights, Women, Women Directors


Director: Milena Aboyan
Executive Producer: Kirsten Lukaczik
Producer: Matthias Greving, Igor Dovgal
Cinematographer: Christopher Behrmann
Screenwriter: Milena Aboyan, Constantin Hat
Editor: Elias Ben Engelhardt
Composer: Kilian Oser
Principal Cast: Bayan Layla, Derya Durmaz, Nazmi Kirik, Armin Wahedi, Derya Dilber