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Film / When Darkness Falls

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"There's too much prejudice. This has nothing to do with religion. Nor origin."

When Darkness Falls (Swedish: När mörkret faller) is a 2006 Swedish anthology drama film by Anders Nilsson.

Leyla is the daughter of an Iranian immigrant family. Her older sister Nina is believed to be the bad seed of the family, because she allegedly is dating the wrong men, which isn't true. Leyla tries to protect and defend her sister but in the meantime the family hatches a horrible plan to restore their honor.

Carina is a television journalist and is married to the popular cameraman Håkan. But the picture of their happy marriage is just a delusion. At home, Håkan regularly snaps and beats his wife. One day, she can't stand it anymore and complains to the police. Their colleagues hold this against her. Carina thereupon addresses to the media — with bad consequences.

Aram owns a restaurant together with his two siblings. After three gangsters got the push by the bouncers, they decide to take revenge on them. One night they attack the restaurant and several people get shot and Aram is the only person who can identify the offender. From now on he receives death threats.

The film was shown at the Berlinale Filmfestival 2007 and won the Amnesty International Film Price in the same year.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?: When Carina wins an award for one of her documentaries (where Håkan was the camera man), she forgets mentioning him in her acceptance speech. Afterwards in the taxi, he calls her out on that and repeatedly insults her, telling her that she would not have won the prize without him. Back at home he beats her up.
  • Arranged Marriage: Nina's mother tells her that marrying an appropriate man at her grandmother's in Germany can regain her honor. It's a trap.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, all delinquents are caught and will be punished, but considering the events earlier in the movie, you still cannot feel happy and it makes the impress that the characters feel the same.
  • Brainwashed: Leyla tells this about her brothers Temir and Leo.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: After fleeing from home, Nina calls her family and talks with a south Swedish accent with her father, pretending to be one of Leylas teachers, to be able to talk to her secretly.
  • But Not Too Gay: Aram and Peter only flutter a kiss at the end.
  • Domestic Abuse: Håkan beats his wife Carina, as well as his father used to beat his mother.
  • Evil Matriarch: Leyla's mother.
  • Family Business: Aram owns a restaurant together with his brother Dana and his sister Nadja.
  • Family Honor: Nina gets accused of having offended her family's honor because she met a boy.
  • Foreshadowing: There are hints that Leyla's mother is the one pulling the strings.
    Mother: [after Leyla's father hit her] I am raising my daughters!
  • The Grovel: After hitting his wife again, Håkan comes back home one day later and pleads Carina to forgive him because he can't live without her. He promises to change but only one day later he abuses her even worse.
  • He Knows Too Much: Aram was the only one who saw the face of the attacker who shot at his security guards. After that he receives death threats.
  • Heel Realization: Temir and Leo, after Nina's death.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Leyla's family to her sister Nina, when they think that she had sexual contact with several men. This ends in the family killing Nina by staging her suicide on a high speed street in Germany.
  • I Have No Son!: After Nina is killed by her family, Leyla, who is non-participant of the murder, asks where her sister's body is:
    Leyla: Where is Nina?
    Father: You've never had a sister who is called "Nina".
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Håkan and Carina get caught by their children.
  • Kubrick Stare: Leyla's mother, after Leyla realizes that her mother mainly staged her sisters death, not her father which she thought first.
  • Lonely Funeral: Nina.
  • Love Martyr: Carina, at least at the beginning. She says that she still loves Håkan even though he was regularly punching her for ten years. Later, after finally leaving him, she says this on a tv interview:
    Carina: You may ask: How can you be in love with such a man? How sick is this woman who is in love with such a man? He's a very important person in your life and you have lived with him for ten years and you have also children with him, then it's not that easy. You hope all the time that he'll change, that's what you hope all the time.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Håkan, making his children believe that their mother wants to divorce and that it's her fault that he is hitting her.
  • Manly Gay: Aram and especially Peter.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Carina, after reporting Håkan to the police for beating her. She eventually realizes that it was the right thing to do.
  • Never Suicide: Nina is murdered by her family by being chased over a high speed street. They make it look like suicide.
  • No Escape but Down: The family clan tries to force Nina to suicide after she returns from running away to a friend. Nina and Leyla then lock themselves into their room and Nina escapes through the window (in the third floor) before the family can open the door with a picklock.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: The gangsters first try to bribe Aram and Peter to make them retire their witness reports. Aram refuses to take the money though and from that on the gangsters threaten to kill him. Peter however takes the money.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Leyla's family uses this twice on her. First after Nina's death, then after Leyla reports her family to the police.
  • Starting a New Life: Leyla, Peter and Carina at the end.
  • Straight Gay: Aram and Peter.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Leyla's father tells her that her sister Nina killed herself, even though Leyla saw everything of the murder.
  • This Means War!: One of the gangsters says this word for word after they got thrown out of Aram's restaurant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Leyla, calling her mother and telling her that she went to the police.
  • Un-person: After killing her, Nina's family destroys all photos of Nina and disavows her.
  • Wham Line: "Leyla. You've never understood."