Going into this film, I had no idea what I was about to get into. With the title being “Exam,” I was expecting something entirely different. And I think that was the intent of writers Sonia K. Hadad and Farnoosh Samadi.
Exam starts off with Sadaf Asgari studying for an exam when her father tells her that there’s a customer waiting. She unwillingly picks up a small package from someone and goes off to school. While at school, there is a random bag search.
The setting of the film is somewhere in the Middle East, where women must wear hijabs. This plays into it because while the bag search is going on, the woman conducting the search happens to find a curler in one of the students’ bags and the woman goes further by pulling the hair of the student from under the hijab, and it’s revealed that she has dyed her hair.
“She unwillingly picks up a small package from someone and goes off to school.”
Meanwhile, the protagonist is watching what is going on in the classroom and frantically looking for a place to store what she had picked up on the way to school. This is where it is revealed that it is a bag of cocaine. In the act of desperation, the protagonist goes through extreme measures to hide the bag.
Exam was very intense from start to finish despite having little dialogue. There is the mystery of what she has in the bag, and once it is revealed, I had this “oh sh**” feeling and didn’t want her to get caught with it, even when she manages to not get caught with it, the reveal as hectic as it is powerful which still holds the intensity.
By the end of Exam, the realization of what the title truly meant was clear. It is a very powerful short film and not for the faint of heart.
Exam screened at the 2020 Annapolis Film Festival.