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Film / Parvaneh

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Parvaneh is a 2012 short film from Switzerland, directed by Talkhon Hamzavi.

Parvaneh (Nissa Kashaneh) is a refugee from Afghanistan who is staying at a refugee housing center. Her parents are back in Afghanistan and her father is ill, so Parvaneh gets a job sewing clothes under the table. She's paid a pittance and is heartlessly exploited by the Swiss man who employs her, but at least she now has money to send home.

Only she can't. It turns out that to wire money from Switzerland to anywhere you have to have a valid ID and be at least 18. Parvaneh fails on both counts. She goes out looking for a Swiss person to help her, and finds Emily, a white girl and German-speaking Swiss who's old enough. The two girls strike up a friendship.



  • Alone in a Crowd: Parvaneh, who hasn't seen anything of Switzerland but the refugee center and the farm where she sews clothes, when she's in a crowded railway station struggling to make sense of the timetables.
  • An Immigrant's Tale: The struggles of a refugee, living in a refugee camp, earning a pathetic wage under the table, struggling to send money home to her family.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After Parvaneh's nearly raped, after she's robbed of her bankroll, and after Parvaneh has to smash a bottle over the thief's head while he's assaulting Emily, the two young women eventually send Parvaneh's money successfully. And they form a friendship.
  • Fish out of Water: Parvaneh, a Muslim woman from Afghanistan (and apparently a rural part of Afghanistan), navigating Switzerland. She tentatively tries on lipstick in a store, and later takes off her headscarf, the latter probably because she doesn't want to get picked up by the police. Western liberties take a darker tone when Parvaneh gets drunk at a club and nearly suffers disaster.
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  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Some Swiss guy gets rapey with a drunk Parvaneh on the street. Or at least it looked like he was trying to get rapey—in actuality he stole her bankroll. Emily chases after the thief, and after he starts assaulting her, Parvaneh cracks a beer bottle over his head.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Parvaneh drinks punch at a nightclub. It's obviously spiked. She might not know it's spiked and almost certainly has little experience with alcohol anyway. She gets quite intoxicated.
  • Lens Flare: Seen from the spotlight at the nightclub, in this instance reinforcing Parvaneh's discomfort and disorientation.

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