Ayaneh (2019) Poster

(2019)

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7/10
a splash of freedom
ferguson-622 September 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. Ayaneh seems to enjoy her swims in the public pool, and her glances at the other women swimmers are first interpreted as a touch of envy. See, Ayaneh is a young refugee from Afghanistan and her swims require a Burkini, an extremely conservative swimsuit that covers most everything head-to-toe. A few more glances have us wondering if Ayaneh is envious of the western swimsuits or maybe even a bit lustful towards the women wearing them.

When an outgoing Swiss swimmer named Anna introduces herself to Ayaneh, it becomes clear the attraction is both the swim attire and Anna. In Afghanistan, Ayaneh would not be allowed to swim, but now living in Switzerland for 8 months with her mother and older brother, she is being tempted by the freedoms which conflict with their cultural and religious Muslim traditions.

The contrast Ayaneh experiences in the pool with Anna and at home with mother and brother is quite stark, and she finds herself drawn to the new world, new culture, and new friends. Afsaneh Dehrouyeh and Ladina Von Frisching are particularly affecting as Ayaneh and Anna, and the message delivers quite a punch in only 14 minutes. It's a stark reminder of how freedom allows us to be true to ourselves and our feelings - anything less is not really freedom.
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