“Occasionally, he [Oskouei] leaves them [the women] alone with the camera, allowing it to become a tool for them to address both their victims in the afterlife and their accomplices,” the website of the ZagrebDox wrote about the Iranian movie.
‘Sunless Shadows’ is the follow up to Oskouei’s critically acclaimed 2016 pic ‘Starless Dreams’ and gives another look at the lives of teenage girls in an Iranian juvenile detention center. But this time the focus is narrowed: Each of the film’s principal subjects is serving time for the murder of a male family member. One by one, Oskouei invites them to go into a room alone, push the red button on the camera and address their accomplices or their victims, deadline.com reported.
With this new confessional approach, combined with the ever-deepening relationships he has with his subjects, Oskouei presents a picture of the disenfranchised in this aggressively male-dominated society and of the prison that is their shelter from it.
‘Sunless Shadows,’ which made its world premiere as the opening film at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, won the festival’s Best Director prize.
The Iranian documentary also opened the 11th Middle East Now festival in Italy and grabbed the Silver Horn award for Best Director and the Student Jury award at the 60th Krakow Film Festival in Poland.
Nominated for the Open City Award at the 2020 Open City Documentary Festival in the UK, the film won the main prize of the festival’s International Competition section at the 8th CinéDOC-Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival in Georgia.
The 74-minute documentary was also screened at a number of global events, including the Millenium International Documentary Film Festival in Belgium, the Munich International Documentary Film Festival in Germany, the Cannes online Film Market in France, and the 17th Big Sky International Film Festival in the US, where it received the Special Jury award.
Launched in 2005, the ZagrebDox festival is intended to provide audiences and experts insight into recent documentary films, stimulate national documentary production and boost international and regional cooperation in co-productions.