No Hard Feelings
Faraz Shariat, Germany, 2020, 92 minutes
Rating: R16 offensive language, sex scenes
When we have no choice about the life we are born into, what choice do we have in the life we want to live? Faraz Shariat’s assured debut feature examines this by setting a tentative queer love story against the sobering realities of life as an immigrant in modern-day Germany. With dreamy cinematography that invokes summer crushes and stolen moments, No Hard Feelings is at turns sexy and romantic but nevertheless refuses to let its characters escape the pasts they are running from. As a second-generation Irani-German millennial, Parvis has struggled to understand his heritage. Instead, he seeks solace in gay clubs and casual hook-ups with men who bluntly tell him they don’t usually go for “ethnic” guys. For reasons that are never explained, nor required, Parvis is sentenced to community service at a shelter for refugees. It’s there he meets the smouldering Amon and his older sister Bana, recent arrivals from Iran. As the trio’s friendship blossoms, Parvis is confronted with a glimpse of what his life could have been had his parents not fled Iran, while a burgeoning love affair with Amon begins, even as the threat of deportation looms. Shariat’s light directorial touch eschews audience manipulation for clear-eyed reality, allowing the characters’ fates to unfurl organically as they face a future that holds both hope and disappointment.
–Chris Tse, NZIFF 2020.
In cooperation with Goethe Institut