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Unveiled / Fremde Haut (2005)
Director: Angelina Maccarone
Language: German (English subtitles)
Unveiled follows the intrepid journey of Fariba Tarizi (Jasmin Tabatabai), a young Iranian woman who fleas Iran for Germany because of her love for another woman. Soon after, Fariba’s journey is interrupted when it is discovered that her documentation papers are forgeries. She then attempts to claim asylum in Germany on political grounds, as she is too ashamed to reveal the truth about her sexuality. In an unexpected turn of events, a young Iranian man (Siamak) whom Fariba has befriended commits suicide, and she is able to assume his identity.
Fariba is released from the detention centre under the guise of Siamak, and she begins to work in a cabbage factory in rural Germany. Her time here is bereft with fitting in with her masculine co-workers, whilst trying to disguise her true identity (taking communal showers proves to be particularly difficult). She then meets Anna (Anneke Kim Sarnau), a local woman and co-worker, and the two soon fall in love. What follows in this love affair is a series of events which prompts both the characters in the film, as well as the audience, to question the integrity of their relationship, as well as the meaning of true love.
This film has received some international success with Jasmin Tabatabai nominated as ‘Best Actress’ at the German Film Awards (2005), as well as winning a number of awards at smaller festivals including the Seattle Film Festival (2005) and the Cyprus International Film Festival (2006). Critics have applauded the film for its excellent cinematography, and for skilfully dealing with the complex issues (such as the confines of gender, the plight of asylum-seekers and religious oppression) that the film unearths. I would recommend this film to all cinema lovers as it beautifully portrays an unconventional love whilst dealing with pertinent contemporary issues.
By Sally Richardson
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham