Under the Shadow

United Kingdom | 2016 | 84 minutes | Babak Anvari

Set in Tehran during the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, a mother, trapped in her apartment during the chaos and falling bombs, worries that malevolent spirits have taken possession of her daughter, leading to a bone-chilling horror tale of paranormal and real-life terrors.

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Shideh (Narges Rashidi) is a woman with a lot on her mind. It's 1988, in the final days of the Iran/Iraq War. Her husband has just been called to the front. Meanwhile she's learned that the government won't allow her to continue her studies because of her activist past. On top of it all, her in-laws' indifference strands her in Tehran amid chaos and panic. But those become the least of her worries once a supernatural presence seems to take possession of her young daughter. Against a soundtrack of sirens, and under the threat of an unexploded bomb lodged in the apartment upstairs, Shideh struggles to distinguish between nightmare and reality, increasingly alone as her neighbors flee the city. Under the Shadow is the latest entry in a spate of films, including Fish & Cat (SIFF 2014) and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, by young directors who use the paranormal to tell stories about Iran's political past and present. Babak Anvari's debut feature lends added menace to the former and a terrifying new dimension to the latter by blending horror and social critique, raising the specter of a shadow that can never be escaped.

Director Biography
Born in Iran, Babak Anvari is a filmmaker based in London. His 2012 short film Two & Two was nominated for a BAFTA Award. He has also directed MTV live concerts for artists such as Lady Gaga and Florence & The Machine. He makes his feature film debut with Under the Shadow.

Sponsored by Sinikka and Babak Parviz, Michael and Neda Nassirian, UW Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Persian and Iranian Studies Program, AIBC, Kamiar and Afsaneh Karimi, Naini Family Foundation, Associates in Cultural Exchange, UW Iranian-American Faculty, Rumi Restaurant, Scarecrow Video

  • Director: Babak Anvari
  • Principal Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi
  • Country: United Kingdom, Jordan, Iran
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Producer: Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh
  • Screenplay: Babak Anvari
  • Cinematographers: Kit Fraser
  • Editors: Chris Barwell
  • Music: Gavin Cullen
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Farsi
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Netflix
  • International Sales: XYZ Films