Exam

Exam

Exam

directed by Sonia K. Hadad

starring Elaheh Afshari, Sadaf Asgari, Masih Kazemi

Three Garden Film

We are somewhere in the Middle East, possibly Iran but perhaps not. The sky is grey, the walls plastered with graffiti, and trash blows everywhere. Young Farjid (Afshari) has an important exam today; it might admit her to college and a shot at a better life. She attends an all-girls school, and everyone is swabbed in a dark cloth motif that makes Catholicism look bright and cheery. She’s running late, as we all are, and to complicate things her father wants her to drop off a package and bring him the cash. “That’s too much money for me to carry!” she insists. “Have your friend wire you the money.” Clearly, this package is not filled with falafels. She proceeds to a corner that might be in the Bronx on a bad day. There’s a small sad tree, rusted corrugated metal, chain-link fencing at crazy angles, and creepy guy walking by giving her the evil eye. But no connection. She texts here dad and runs off, just making it into the final exam room in time. Why is she late again? She spins a plausible lie. “Take your test” commands the teacher. She begins. Then: disaster: the head mistress of the school pops a surprise bag check. She finds plenty of contraband: make up, a hair curler, pop music. All offensive to Allah, truly a divine kill joy. Just imagine how bad Farjid’s contraband will look. Where can Farjid hide this stuff? Desperately, she swallows it. Hopefully, it won’t kill her.

We’re left hanging, and there’s more question than answers in this 15 minute slice of life. Clearly, its set in a land where drugs and religion battle for the hearts and minds of the citizens. And women receiving education in not widely accepted. And the economy looks pretty bleak, or at least opportunity is in short supply. A palpable tension fills the screen. You directly sense the terror in this young woman’s dilemma: obey her family or reach for the brass ring of higher education. For a short film, this drama packs in a lot of questions, and like the name of this distant land its set in, few answers are revealed.

This movie was shown as part of the 2020 Florida Film Festival.

https://www.threegardensfilm.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    In The Blossom Of Their Shade (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Best of Film 2021
    Best of Film 2021

    Lily and Generoso select and review their ten favorite features, seven supplemental films, and two prized repertory releases of 2021.

  • I Saw A Dozen Faces…
    I Saw A Dozen Faces…

    From The Windbreakers to Bark, Tim Lee is a trooper in the rock and roll trenches…and he’s lived to tell it all in his new memoir.

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

From the Archives