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The Exam

World Premiere: 2021 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Crystal Globe Competition)

The Exam

The Exam


"THE EXAM presents a powerful plea for equal access to education, allowing young women to lead a free and emancipated life."
Terre Des Femmes, Christa Stolle (CEO)

[…] the bond between these two [sisters], as they don’t seem to have high hopes for their respective futures, is touching. 
Marta Bałaga

“It is in this respect that the film approaches the issue of women’s rights more comprehensively, provocatively, and loosely than many other works that unquestioningly define the desire for personal emancipation through the characters of suffering women cutting the chains of a ruthless patriarchy.“ 
Adéla Mrázová

Punctuating its pro-feminist messages with moral and ethical questions about the extremely risky measures taken by the girl to ensure success, the fourth feature by leading Kurdish filmmaker Shawkat Amin Korki is packaged with all the suspense and tension of a tightly wound crime thriller.
Variety, Richard Kuipers

„The standout is the striking Jamal, a television actress in her first feature role, who brings a frazzled authenticity to her performance as Shilan.“ 
ScreenDaily, Wendy Ide

„The film gives us a lucid look at gender issues, economic inequity and social distress in a region that has seen conflict and intense suffering over many years.“ 
Arab News, Gautaman Bhaskaran

„Written and filmed without judgement, The Exam has an added layer of will-she-won’t-she suspense. Korki’s smooth direction piles on the bleakness without a trace of heaviness.“, Nandini Ramnath

"[...] a fertile moral field to examine the traps surrounding female empowerment [...]"
The Film Verdict, Deborah Young

"Shawkat Amin Korki baut von Anfang an Spannung auf, wodurch der Film neben der offensichtlichen Kritik an der Sozialordnung, in der er ein Gleichgewicht zwischen leichter Ironie und Ernsthaftigkeit findet, auch den Charakter einer Kriminalerzählung erhält."
NZZ am Sonntag, Teresa Vena

"Spannend und in allen Richtungen gesellschaftskritisch"
SRF Kultur, Michael Sennhauser

The Exam




Rojin, a heartbroken young woman who is suffering from depression after the disappearance of her fiance, is preparing for her university entrance exam. If she fails, her father will force her into marriage. If she succeeds, however, she might lead a more emancipated life and avoid the fate of her older sister Shilan, who is unhappily married to a conservative man who demands her to be a proper housewife. Seeing that her younger sister struggles to achieve that dream, Shilan becomes desperate to make her pass the exam by any means necessary. This decision puts the sisters under immense pressure from their environment both at home and in school, as they become entangled in a huge network of corruption that is connected through all parts of society.


Director: Shawkat Amin Korki
Screenwriter: Shawkat Amin Korki and Mohamed Reza Gohari
Cinematographer: Adib Sobhani
Producer: Mehmet Aktaş (mîtosfilm); Foad Jalal (Masti Film)
Cast: Avan Jamal, Vania Salar, Hussein Hassan, Shwan Attoof, Hoshyar Nerwayi et al.

Supported By

Cultural Ministry of City of Culture - Suleymaniya, Doha Film Institute, Republic Iraq - Ministry of Culture - Iraqi Cinema and Theater Foundation

2021 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Crystal Globe Competition)
FIPRESCI Critics Award for best film in Crystal Globe Competition
Göteborg Film Festival
Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Best International Feature
Cairo International Film Festival
Tirana International Film Festival (Best Screenplay)
Red Sea International Film Festival
Istanbul International Film Festival
Leeds International Film Festival
Off Camera
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival
Kerala International Film Festival
Mons International Film Festival
Leiden International Film Festival
Victoria Film Festival - Best feature film
Duhok International FIlm Festival (Opening film)
Kurdish Film Festival Berlin - Opening Film
Filmfest Frauenwelten
Arabisches Film Festival Tübingen
Exground Film Festival
Kurdisches Filmfest Hamburg (Opening Film)
100 % Manusia Human Rights Film Festival - Opening Film
Tbilisi International Film Festival
Pune International Film Festival - Competition
Kurdische Filmtage Köln
FESCAAL - official competition
Koerdish Film Festival Amsterdam
Kurdish Film Festival Paris
Festival of Tolerance
Golden Apricot Film Festival
Melbourne IFF
Beijing IFF - Competition