Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Under the Shadow 2016

Directed by Babak Anvari

This politically charged, spine-chilling debut from Iranian Babak Anvari is a tense and atmospheric thriller set in a haunted Tehran apartment during the terrifying final days of the Iran-Iraq War.

Jordan/Qatar/UK In Farsi with English subtitles
85 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
M (horror and supernatural themes)

Director/Screenplay

Producers

Lucan Toh
,
Emily Leo
,
Oliver Roskill

Photography

Kit Fraser

Editor

Chris Barwell

Production designer

Nasser Zoubi

Costume designer

Phaedra Dahdaleh

Music

Gavin Cullen
,
William McGillivray

With

Narges Rashidi (Shideh)
,
Avin Manshadi (Dorsa)
,
Bobby Naderi (Iraj)
,
Ray Haratian (Mr Ebrahimi)
,
Hamidreza Djavdan (Mr Fakur)
,
Soussan Farrokhnia (Mrs Fakur)

Festivals

Sundance
,
New Directors/New Films
,
San Francisco 2016

Elsewhere

“Infused with autobiographical elements, Babak Anvari’s debut feature is a terrifying allegory of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, a now often overlooked conflict that shaped much of this London-based Iranian filmmaker’s early childhood.

A constantly shifting expressionistic nightmare, Under the Shadow centers upon Shideh (Narges Rashidi), a frustrated mother unable to fulfill her career aspirations because of her former political activism. When her doctor husband is drafted, Shideh is left alone with her daughter Dorsa and must protect her from supernatural phenomena brought upon their Tehran apartment by a missile attack.

At first skeptical of ghost stories, Shideh slowly realizes that her home is haunted and gets sucked into a web of paranoia wherein malevolent djinn mess with her mind. Like any insightful work of horror, Anvari’s film leaves it to the viewer to decide whether the supernatural threat is a shared reality or no more than a psychosomatic symptom – a harrowing projection of the protagonist’s deranged psyche.” — Yonca Talu, Film Comment