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The Independent Critic

Maryam Tarami, Armin Tashakoor
Siar Sedig
Ashar Medina, Wander Theunis

 "February" is a Compelling Indie Short 
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In the award-winning Dutch short film February, a man (Armin Tashakoor) loses himself in the compelling stories of a woman (Maryam Tarami) about freedom. It is clear that there is something beautiful occurring between the two, yet the woman is more than she seems.

Directed by Siar Sedig and co-written by Ashar Medina and Wander Theunis, February is a compelling and involving film that gently lulls you into a false understanding of what it really is only to ultimately become much, much more. The film benefits from a central performance by Maryam Tarami that is strangely seductive, but not really in the way that you might imagine. There is a dreamlike quality to the film, a quality that far transcends the physical realm. Tarami picked up the prize for Best Lead Actress at the Red Dirt International Film Festival, where the film had three other nominations including Best Foreign Film, Best Production Design, and Best Writing in a Narrative. February is already proving to be quite popular on the indie film fest circuit.

Artyom Zakharenko's lensing is beautifully appropriate, giving the film an uneven intimacy that lingers with the characters and practically immerses you in Tarami's words. Nick Smeenk's original music has a sort of lilting, meditative quality about it that further enhances that sense of immersion.  As has been noted, the film's entire production design crew deserves kudos for giving the film a an almost fantasy-like sensibility that never really fades even as the film winds down and shifts gears.

February is a mesmerizing film almost precisely because it is kept at a mere running time of less than nine minutes, a time that allows us to glimpse inside the internal and external worlds of this young woman and, as well, the man with whom she is revealing much of herself.

It is no secret if you've read my reviews for any length of time that I frequently find myself enchanted by Dutch filmmakers - there's something about the weaving together of style and substance that seems to always resonate with me. This is very much the case with the simple yet splendid February.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic