Opening 20 Oct 2005
Fariba Tabrizi (Jasmin Tabatabai) is an Iranian woman on the run from her country because of a (in Iran, forbidden) lesbian relationship. Unfortunately when she lands in Germany and is interviewed by the immigration authorities, she doesn’t admit her real reason for seeking asylum and instead claims political grounds which she is unable to substantiate. In the same detention facilities, Siamak (Navid Akhavan), a young man whom she has befriended, is seeking asylum for legitimate political reasons. Nonetheless he becomes convinced that he will be sent back to Iran and consumed with fear, commits suicide. Fariba discovers his body. In a sequence in the film which strains credibility, she assumes his identity and is sent to a refugee home outside of a small town as Siamak. The effort to maintain the false identity and false gender becomes more and more difficult for Fariba. And then she meets Anna (Anneke Kim Sarnau), a local woman with a young son and a jealous boyfriend, and falls in love.
Despite the credibility issues, this excellent film works. The story is both riveting and moving and Jasmin Tabatabai, a consummate actress, is perfect in the role. The supporting cast, especially Ms. Sarnau, are excellent and the script, although a little slow sometimes, builds to an unexpected climax. The desperate situation of asylum seekers: the fear, the boredom, and the loss of dignity while they wait in forced idleness for the life and death decisions of the immigration system are made painfully clear. And the love affair, which has to self destruct, keeps you hoping for a miracle. (Adele Riepe)