Friday, April 29

Special Events ArchiveIndependent Film Festival Boston 2016

Under the Shadow

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Dir Babak Anvari w/Narges Rashidi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian [84 mins]

The year is 1988, in the final days of the Iran-Iraq War. Having been denied entry to medical school due to her political activism during the Iranian Revolution, Shideh returns home to her role as wife and mother in a Tehran apartment building. Any fears for her safety are subordinated by her frustrations with the decision, the government, and her family.

When her husband Iraj, an MD, is sent to the front line during a period of increased violence, Shideh and her daughter Dorsa are left on their own in the apartment. Their windows are crossed with masking tape to prevent shattering during the bomb blasts that have become all too common. Trips to the basement shelter become routine. It is there that young Dorsa receives a warning from an orphaned boy staying with relatives. He tells her that “they” are coming. “They” are jinn, malevolent spirits that seek to possess the living, and one has entered the building through a hole in the roof. As Dorsa falls ill and begins to communicate with the entity, Shideh fears she may not be able to save her daughter from the jinn’s ghostly grip.

Director Babak Anvari expertly frames an effective haunted-house story in UNDER THE SHADOW. The building’s occupants are on high alert after eight years of conflict, but gradually, their daily stresses and psychological turmoil give way to fear of the paranormal.

–Mark E. Anastasio

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Screening Supported by Boston Underground Film Festival