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Unveiled (DVD Review)

1 Mar, 2006 By: Brendan Howard


Prebook 3/7/06; Street 4/18/06
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.
In German and Farsi with English subtitles.
Stars Jasmin Tabatabai, Anneke Kim Sarnau.

Hiding your gender is almost always a source of laughs in movies. Men or women engage in a comedy of errors when they cross-dress to get access to their true love, access to good jobs or access to their kids, a la Mrs. Doubtfire.

Unveiled, on the other hand, tells the story of Fariba, an Iranian lesbian who escapes prison, torture and death by fleeing to Germany. After her false claim of political asylum is rejected, however, Fariba takes on the identity of a man who kills himself in the German asylum holding tank. Fariba is lent a tiny apartment shared with another man, taking showers when she can in a nearby outhouse and getting illegal work at a cole slaw factory. At the factory, Fariba meets Anne, who likes Fariba's gentle nature and foreign charm.

Eventually, the open-minded Anne finds out Fariba's female gender, still falling for her and conspiring to save her from certain death in Iran.

The film compactly captures the suffering of two global minorities at once: asylum seekers and homosexuals. Many countries imprison, torture or kill homosexuals, but their claims for asylum are often difficult to prove.

The included short film Everyone, Everywhere highlights the work of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. While the short is short on concrete ways viewers can help, narrator Sir Ian McKellen does show the difference the Commission has made in such countries as Egypt, Taiwan and Namibia.

This is a must-watch drama for gays, lesbians, global citizens and the open-minded. Cross-dressing danger is also captured in the Afghan film Osama.

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