YOU | ME (in Dutch JIJ | IK) is a split screen film which confronts the viewer with the impact of freedom on the lives of two women of the same age growing up and living in Rotterdam and Iran. YOU | ME is a poetic piece of social criticism combining choreographed images, fiction and documentary material. Background research for the film involved interviewing a range of women with a variety of backgrounds, including women with dual nationality, on the topics of freedom, feminism, and women’s rights.

By Davy Pieters and Nastaran Razawi Khorasani.

YOU|ME sets the lives of two women next to each other, one from Rotterdam and one from Iran, in a split-screen film. Nastaran plays both women and is thus a double character. The split screen functions as a mirror, a looking glass into another world.

When you look into the mirror, you reflect on yourself and question your identity. The question is forced upon you: Who would you have become if you had grown up in a different place? We represent the answer to this question by having Nastaran play both women. It is as if they look at themselves in the mirror and for a moment can be transported into a parallel life. Nastaran is the connecting element between the two worlds, and also embodies these two worlds.

At the micro level, this is Nastaran’s personal story. Thanks to her bicultural identity, she grew up between two worlds. At the macro level, this personal story is also about not only freedom but also feminism, women’s rights and dual citizenship. Nastaran represents the voices and stories of many women, and so we are telling a universal story.

Rotterdam is the backdrop for the Dutch side of the story. The whole city will be a part of the decor. In Rotterdam, more than half the population has a diverse ethnic background. We chose Rotterdam precisely because, unlike Iran, it’s one of the best examples of a city where different cultures come together, different ideas and opinions meet and are even allowed to clash. As we think about the new generation, whose parents increasingly have mixed ethnic backgrounds, we believe that our film adds value because it contributes to their story of identity, and we think they (and perhaps also their parents) will recognise themselves in the main characters. We’re trying to connect Rotterdamers with each other.

Production details:
In collaboration with KOBE

Country: The Netherlands
Status: In development, expected in 2022
Running time: ’20 minutes

Splitscreen: short documentary, installation & online