Sunless Shadows (2019)

  • 1h 14m
  • Mehrdad Oskouei
  • Iran, Norway
  • 2019

Sun 21 Jun, 1pm
Thu 25 Jun, 9pm

“It says everything that many of these long-mistreated young women finally find liberty in incarceration. The great grace of Oskouei’s subtly devastating film is that he doesn’t take it upon himself to say so.”
— Guy Lodge, Variety

In an Iranian juvenile detention centre, adolescent girls serve time for having murdered their father, husband or another male family member. In frank conversations and playful interactions, they gradually open up about the consequences of, and sometimes the reasons for, their acts.

A tightening of focus from Mehrdad Oskouei’s Starless Dreams, the filmmaker leaves the girls alone with the camera, allowing them to address both their victims and their accomplices. Three of the girls killed their fathers with the help of their mothers, who await execution elsewhere.

“Stoically challenging in the range of viewpoints
it presents, the film realises
that listening to survivors
doesn’t always mean agreeing with them.”

— Guy Lodge, Variety

Unlike their mothers’ sombre pall, the atmosphere in the girls’ living quarters, shared cell with teen-bedroom feel, classroom and grass-lined courtyard where a brood of ducklings scamper about, seems almost carefree.

It gradually becomes apparent, however, that apart from being a prison, this closed, all-female environment is also a shelter from an aggressively male-dominated society.

Previous festival selections include:
IDFA, winner: Best Director
Museum of Modern Art Documentary Fortnight, USA
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, USA, winner: Honourable Mention


Mehrdad Oskouei