When Iranian/German filmmaker Faraz Shariat was 19 years old he imported a security detacher from China and used it to take off the security tags from clothes in department stores. In time he got caught shoplifting and was sentenced to community service which he did by becoming a translator in a refugee shelter.
That was back in 2015 when Germany couldn’t cope with the number of immigrants arriving there and seeking asylum. It became the basis for Shariat’s debut film which he directed and co-wrote and is ostensibly a love story between Parvis the translator and one of the ‘inmates’ but is really an indictment of the whole refugee, which for the LGBTQ community is scarily totally out of control
Parvis (Benny Radjaipour) with his bleached blonde hair has never acclimated to the small northern German city Hildesheim like his middle-class supermarket-owning parents. He still yearns for the life he left behind in Tehran, which is surprising as a gay man, life couldn’t have been a bed of roses.
He doesn’t seemed that perturbed when he is landed with 150 hours of community service. It’s also kind of ironic when he gets assigned as a translator as his own Farsi has got very rusty and difficult to understand at times.
Practically on his first day at the Refuge he meets the dark, handsome Amon (Eidin Jalali) and his very bubbly sister Banafshe (Banafshe Hourmazdi). Though Parvis seems an unlikely match for the quiet reserved Amon, the two become lovers, whilst Bana(afshe) becomes his Best Gal Buddy.
The chemistry between the two men is nothing less than electrifying, and when they add the dance pulsing soundtrack, it all becomes very hot indeed.
Shariat does not just concentrate on this burgeoning romance but also on an important side plot of Bana’s ill-fated struggle with her visa status which lends much emotional drama.
In fact it this focus on race and belonging that gives this wee queer drama more gravitas than normal and probably contributed to the fact it won two prestigious Teddy Awards at Berlinale earlier this year.
It’s an extremely impressive debut and at such a very young age : maybe Shariat is ready to take over from Xavier Dolan as the ‘queer wunderkind?