• Sunless Shadows

Sunless Shadows

a film by Mehrdad Oskouei
2019, 74 minutes



Mehrdad Oskouei’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Starless Dreams (2016), Sunless Shadows takes 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.

With this new confessional approach combined with the ever-deepening relationships he has with his subjects, Oskouei presents a picture of the disenfranchised in an aggressively male-dominated society and of the prison that is their shelter from it.


"Quietly but pointedly interrogates the notion of victimhood, while tacitly letting a damning essay on Iranian gender politics and hierarchies emerge through the words of [its] subjects."
- Guy Lodge Variety

"Outstanding... Presents an agonizing view of patriarchal power in public and private life, law and custom alike."
- Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Humanist and sobering and enraging, Sunless Shadows is a vital portrait of young women in a society that has no room for them as people."
- Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

"It’s a tough subject, but Oskouei approaches it with care, capturing the girls through quiet observation and then giving them a more overt voice in moments when they are alone and in charge of a camera."
- Amber Wilkinson, Screen Daily

Press Materials

High-Res Stills and Poster
Press Kit
Press Release

Where to watch

Buy at CG store


Feb 6: MoMA - New York, NY

Aug 5: Museum of the Moving Image - New York, NY
Aug 7: Laemmle Theaters - Los Angeles, CA
Aug 7: Lumiere Music Hall - Los Angeles, CA
Aug 7: Roxie Theater - San Francisco, CA
Aug 7: Facets Cinematheque - Chicago, IL
Aug 7: Northwest Film Forum - Seattle, WA
Aug 7: Guild Cinema - Albuquerque, NM
Aug 7: The Lark Theater - Larkspur, CA
Aug 7: Darkside Cinema - Corvallis, OR
Aug 7: Webster Film Series - St. Louis, MO
Aug 7: Burns Court Cinema - Sarasota, FL
Aug 7: Cinema Paradiso - Hollywood, FL
Aug 7: FilmBar - Phoenix, AZ
Aug 7: The Flicks - Boise, ID
Aug 7: Pickford Film Center - Bellingham, WA
Aug 7: FilmScene - Iowa City, IA
Aug 7: Moxie Cinema - Springfield, MO
Aug 7: Athens Ciné - Athens, GA
Aug 7: Savoy Theater - Montpelier, VT
Aug 7: Oklahoma City Museum of Art - Oklahoma City, OK
Aug 7: The Cinematheque - Vancouver, BC
Aug 7: Time & Space Ltd - Hudson, NY
Aug 7: Jacob Burns Film Center - Pleasantville, NY
Aug 7: George Eastman Museum
Aug 7: Bedford Playhouse - Bedford, NY
Aug 7: Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center - Lincoln, NE
Aug 7: Dairy Center for the Arts - Boulder, CO
Aug 7: Cinema Theater - Rochester, NY
Aug 7: Charles Theater - Baltimore, MD
Aug 14: Colonial Theatre - Bethlehem, PA
Aug 14: Cinema Moderne - Montreal, QC
Aug 14: Vermont International Film Foundation - Burlington, VT
Aug 21: Wexner Center for the Arts - Columbus, OH
Aug 21: AFI Silver Theatre - Washington, DC
Aug 21: Suns Cinema - Washington, DC
Aug 21: Cleveland Cinematheque - Cleveland, OH

Festivals & Awards

Winner - Best Directing - IDFA
Official Selection - MoMA's Doc Fortnight


Related Films

Starless Dreams

Starless Dreams

Mehrdad Oskouei









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