Beginning August 5, 2020, Museum of the Moving Image is pleased to present “Bound Unbound: Four by Mehrdad Oskouei,” films by the esteemed Iranian documentarian who has spent twelve years exploring the lives of women and children in detention centers near Tehran. The series is anchored by “Sunless Shadows,” Oskouei’s latest film, for which he was awarded Best Director at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2019. Punctuated by deeply confessional monologues, the film offers a window into the lives of women and girls imprisoned for the murder of a male family member. Sunless Shadows is a Cinema Guild release. View trailer.
“It is not hyperbolic to say that the films of Mehrdad Oskouei are without comparison in contemporary cinema,” said Eric Hynes, MoMI’s Curator of Film. “Both for his dedication to giving voice to people who are habitually and systematically silenced—the incarcerated youth of Iran, whose traumas preceded their criminality and remain raw and worth understanding—and also in terms of his easygoing, engaging style of observation and conversation, which allows for scenes of both heartbreaking intimacy and transcendent joy. We are honored to be showcasing his latest film, Sunless Shadows, as well as his three previous films, in hopes of bringing his work to a wider audience.”
Alongside Sunless Shadows, the series includes Starless Dreams (2016, which MoMI presented in an exclusive New York theatrical run in 2017), The Last Days of Winter (2011), and It’s Always Late for Freedom (2007)—films that offer “a tapestry of longing and self-negation,” as Bilge Ebiri noted in The Village Voice in 2018. The films all feature intimate and riveting testimonies from teenage girls and boys removed from society for crimes that range from theft to murder and who suffer from addiction and abuse. The desperation of their situation is balanced by the community they build with fellow inmates, playing, eating, gossiping, caring for infants, and other everyday activities.
All films screen via Virtual Cinema courtesy of Cinema Guild. Tickets for Sunless Shadows are $12 / $10 members; older titles are $3.99 per film. A series pass, good for all four films, will be available for $20 / $16 MoMI members.