“Sunless Shadows” honored at Brussels Millenium festival
Art and Experience: “Sunless Shadows” by Mehrdad Oskui was honored with the Human Rights Award at the Millenium International Documentary Film Festival in Brussels, the organizers have announced.
In an Iranian juvenile detention center, 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. Mehrdad 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” has been screened in numerous renowned intentional events and won awards in some of them. One of the latest screenings was at the 60th Krakow Film Festival in Poland where it received a Silver Horn for Oskui.
The documentary was named best in a special section dedicated to Iranian cinema at Middle East Now, a film festival in the Italian city of Florence, while it also won an honorable mention two weeks ago at ZagrebDox, the Croatian international documentary festival.
Oskui also won the best director award at The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) for his documentary in November 2019.
The Best Film Award of the Millenium festival was given to “The Cave”, a Syrian-Danish documentary film by Feras Fayyad. The documentary depicts a touching, real-life drama in front of the viewers with its load of senseless brutality and blindness of war but also of compassion, kindness, selflessness and indeed heroism.
“Smog Town”, a Chinese, Dutch and South Korean production by Han Meng, received the Sustainable Development Award.
The jury handed the award to the well documented, constructed and edited film for illustrating in depth how complicated, frustrating but also urgent and necessary it is to fight climate change, and depicting the growing unhealthy quality of life in an urbanizing world.
Iranian director Reza Farahmand’s acclaimed film “Women with Gunpowder Earrings” was honored with the special jury prize at the previous edition of the festival last year.
The film tells the story of Nur, a female journalist who covers stories about Syrian and Iraqi women and children in the war against the ISIS terrorists.
Iranian film scholar Leila Hosseini was a member of the international competition jury of the Millenium festival in 2019.