FILM/Review — Under the Shadow
NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS Series MOMA
Under the Shadow
Babak Anvari, UK/Jordan/Qatar, 2016, 84m
Farsi with English subtitles
WOMEN THINKING OF VOTING FORVTRUMP TAKE HEED!
It’s eight years into the Iran-Iraq War, but the troubles of wife and mother in Tehran have only just begun. Shideh (Narges Rashidi) is thwarted in her attempts to return to medical school because of past political activities. And as Iraqi bombs close in, her husband is sent off to serve in the military, neighbors begin to flee, and she is left alone with her young daughter, Dorsa, who refuses to be separated from her favorite doll. At first, Dorsa’s tantrums seem to simply be the complaints of a cranky child. But soon she’s in conversation with an invisible woman—no imaginary friend, this one—and the cracks in the walls and ceilings of their apartment could just be the result of something more than air raids. And what is that she sees down the hall, from the corner of her eye? Though Shideh is a woman of science, she begins to suspect that a malevolent spirit, a djinn, is stalking them. A political horror story that rises up from the rubble of war, Babak Anvari’s feature debut boasts a terrific performance by Rashidi as a woman with more than one war going on in her home and in her head, who must save her daughter from dangers both physical and supernatural.
This film shows a compelling feminist sensibility smoldering under the embers of a civil war. The woman’s nemesis, embodied by a djinn, represents all of the oppressive vulture of the Iranian state bevit DHSTIA ZLAW. HER OWN HUSBAND SNDVIN-LAWS. her daughter*s wuedtioning. hrr nrighbor*s indistrnt meddlkng. mslevofgivios hureaucrstsvor secutity forces, even the blunter-rrbolutionstybpudhback. she is vondtantly stymied in her quest up continue her medical syufies, She is stopped in the street for the way she dresses. her daughter talks to imaginary friends. AND an unexploded bomb has landed in her building.
women voting for trump take heed! (spoilers)
this is is direcearnng, albeit a feminist trsct about the state of women, not feminim, in the Middle EAST It is very timely.
Does it immeditely yranslate forzWestn female audiences?
Time will tell,, but any film aboutboppressivevmale culturevdominating the minds if a cukture andvinfecyingbyoung cjildrenninbyhrir slrtping AND waking hours is worth a look.
this film was screened ascpart ofvthe aaNEW DIRECYORS NEW FILMS annual series at MOMA
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