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No Hard Feelings
Artwork by David Uzochukwu

The queer coming-of-age film reclaiming migrant bodies

Watch an exclusive trailer for Faraz Shariat’s directorial debut, NO HARD FEELINGS

It’s no secret that the film industry is lacking when it comes to queer, diverse stories and voices. One person who’s determined to change this is 25-year-old German-Iranian director, Faraz Shariat, whose upcoming film, NO HARD FEELINGS, explores his own experiences of growing up as a gay, second-generation migrant. 

Set to premiere at the 2020 Berlinale next month, the film is co-created as part of Shariat and producer Paulina Lorenz’s collective, JÜNGLINGE. In his autobiographical directorial debut, Shariat builds an authentic yet exaggerated story, which opposes and reclaims western narratives around the representation of migrant bodies in mainstream media.

“With this internal disjointedness slowly becoming clear, we grow up in societies that systematically define us as ‘other’,” Shariat tells Dazed. “But we keep on. Trying to format our own history, we start to rewrite white, heterosexist narratives into pluralistic and post-migrant ones.”

Premiering today on Dazed, the trailer for NO HARD FEELINGS offers a first glimpse into the queer coming-of-age film, which fuses fiction and documentary storytelling.

The trailer opens with Parvis, a young queer boy who is the son of exiled Iranians, enrolling at a community service shelter for refugees after he has been caught shoplifting – a real-life experience of Shariat’s. Suitably accompanied by an upbeat soundtrack scored by Jakob Hüffell, Säye Skye, and Jan Günther, the visuals journey through Parvis’s story as he builds a future through rediscovering his past.

“Trying to format our own history, we start to rewrite white, heterosexist narratives into pluralistic and post-migrant ones” – Faraz Shariat

We are quickly introduced to Amon and Banafshee, and the three and shown to spiral through a summer of fleeting youth, intense love, an attempt at a joint future, and the stark realisation that, in Germany, they are not equal. “I think I am many different things,” says Parvis. “You’re lucky you don’t have to decide,” Amon replies.

Speaking of the difficulties faced by second-gen migrants and the differences between those who’ve grown up between two distinct cultures, Shariat reflects: “Between the oppressed in Iran and those forced to confess in Germany, the encounter with Parvis offers Amon the possibility of experiencing something untitled, unspoken, but understood.”

Opposing conventional German cinema – which Shariat explains, is “a multitude of media (mis)representations that stigmatise narratives of migration as a problem and the migrant body as victim or perpetrator” – the director strives to abandon the envisionment of utopia depicted in European film and instead, refer to a world where we feel connected. “As a self-determined, activist popcorn cinema, we want to offer a determined and polyphonic opposition to this and create an offer for fair and honest German cinema,” concludes Shariat.

Watch the trailer below.