TEHRAN.(Iranart) – Iranian director Mehrdad Oskui’s documentary “Sunless Shadows” won an honorable mention at ZagrebDox, the Croatian international documentary festival, on Sunday.
It is a co-production between Iran and Norway and is also competing in the international section of the festival, which opened on Monday.
The story of the documentary is set in an Iranian juvenile detention center, in which a group of adolescent girls are serving time for having murdered their father, husband or another male family member.
Oskui managed to build up a remarkable relationship with these inmates, whose frank conversations and playful interactions he observes, and who gradually open up about the consequences of, and sometimes the reasons for, their terrible act. He occasionally leaves them alone with the camera, allowing it to become a means for them to address both their victims and their accomplices, three of the girls having killed their fathers with the help of their mothers. The mothers await execution elsewhere.
“Sunless Shadows” received the honorable mention in a category that presents the Movies That Matter Award for a film which best promotes human rights.
“Advocate” co-directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche won the award.
“The film sowing the faces and voices of justice in a militarized Israeli society oppressing the discriminated Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank deserves the Movies That Matter Award not only for its masterful insight into the protagonist’s internal struggle and the risks she is taking together with her family because of her devotion to justice, but also for focusing in decade-long persistence on the small but important sprout of humanity and empathy to the Palestinians in the militant Israeli society,” said the jury.
“The Euphoria of Being” by Hungarian filmmaker Réka Szabó also received another honorable mention in this category.
The festival’s main award, the Big Stamp, went to “Froth” by Russian filmmaker Ilya Povolotskiy. The documentary depicts the customs and everyday life on the coast of the Barents Sea. At the heart of the narrative are the stories of three ordinary people.
ZagrebDox also screened “Anticlockwise” another Iranian film by Jalal Vafai. The film is about his family from 2011 to 2019, showing how their world has radically changed. It failed to win an award.