Austria | 2022 | 88 min. | Kurdwin Ayub

An Austrian Muslim teen and her two friends get caught between modern life and tradition while wading through the world of sudden viral fame when they upload a video of them dancing to an R.E.M. song while wearing hijabs.

Exploring the often-awkward dynamics of the emotional purgatory that is teenagedom and set in the age of the compulsory "yas queen" social media overshare, director Kurdwin Ayub focuses on Kurdish girl Yesmin (newcomer Melina Benli) and her friends growing up in Austria—and their eagerness to shed the skin of expectations and find something to truly identify with. While the girls are learning how to express themselves and navigate the waters of self-identity, they film an innocuous music video-style cover of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" for YouTube that gains them some attention. This fuels their desire to shape their world apart from their families while also shoehorning them into a performative loop that continues to fracture Yesmin's fragile idea of purpose. While religion, culture, and sexuality are still very much at play, the focus is more on the intimate strangeness of personhood—an undercurrent that is universally relatable—and the use of social media to both instantly connect but also permanently be attached to, as if every post was a tattoo on the body of your online presence.

Marion Bailey

  • Director: Kurdwin Ayub
  • Principal Cast: Melina Benli, Law Wallner, Maya Wopienka
  • Country: Austria
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 88 min.
  • Producer: Ulrich Seidl
  • Screenplay: Kurdwin Ayub
  • Cinematographers: Enzo Brandner
  • Editors: Roland Stöttinger
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Berlin Film Festival 2022 (Best First Feature)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: German, Kurdish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Cercamon