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Review: Gay Love Story 'No Hard Feelings' A Sensational Debut

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Dec 8, 2020
'No Hard Feelings'
'No Hard Feelings'  

When Iranian/German filmmaker Faraz Shariat was 19 years old, he imported a security detacher imported 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. This experience became the basis for Shariat's debut film,"No Hard Feelings," which he directed and co-wrote. The film is ostensibly a love story between Parvis, the translator and one of the "inmates," but is really an indictment of the refugee crisis, which, for the LGBTQ community, is scarily totally out of control.

Parvis (Benny Radjaipour), with his bleached blond hair, has never acclimated to the small northern German city Hildesheim like his middle-class supermarket-owning parents have. He still yearns for the life he left behind in Tehran, which is surprising; as a gay man, his life there couldn't have been a bed of roses.

He doesn't seem 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 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, while Banafshe becomes his best gal buddy.

The chemistry between the two men is nothing less than electrifying, and when the film's pulsing dance music soundtrack starts up, it all becomes very hot indeed.

Shariat does not just concentrate on this burgeoning romance, but also on an important subplot concerning Bana's ill-fated struggle with her visa status, which lends much emotional drama.

In fact, it is this focus on race and belonging that gives this 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?

"No Hard Feelings" is out now on DVD from TLA Releasing

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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