How much exactly can be said in a little over eight minutes? The short film February answers this question: a lot. In this short amount of time, director Siar Sedig brings together frustration, impotence, humiliation, and a longing for a place to call home. The setting, as well as the work of the actors puts the viewer on the wrong track. It is only in the final minute where a plot twist reveals the true nature of the on-going event.
At first glance, the film appears to be a report of a first date. A man and a woman are sitting across each other in a coffee bar in Amsterdam having a casual conversation. Within seconds of listening to that conversation it becomes clear it is more serious than this. Soon you realize this sounds more like an interview than a date, let alone a first date. The woman talks about her life in Iran and how it shaped her into the woman she is now. She reminisces about the tea her grandfather used to pour her and how it cannot be compared to the stuff Dutch people call tea.
A swift transition moves the conversation to a living room. It seems as if the relationship is developing, until quite suddenly the setting changes again, the warm colors of a lit living room fade away into nothingness. The color of the new location is gray and the blush on the woman’s face has vanished as well. Slowly, but steadily you realize that nothing is what it seemed.
February is a project of a group of Dutch filmmakers, all of them with colorful backgrounds. The woman is played by Maryam Tarami, who was born in Iran. While the man is played by another Dutch-Iranian actor, Armin Tashakoor. Together they succeed in misleading the viewer about what is going on. The look of pure sadness and sorrow is expressed very well by Tarami. She already received an well-deserved award for this role as Best Actress at the Red Dirt International Film Festival in Oklahoma last year.
The short film February is a confronting story told in eight minutes. It shows how challenging and humiliating it is to find a new home in a foreign country and how apathetic the people involved can be by the stories of these people. The plot twist in the final minute will shock you and perhaps leave you with food for thought.