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IF YOU’RE ONE of these people that is tired of the lack of original movies coming out of Hollywood and are constantly searching afield to the foreign section of the movie industry, chances are you may have already stumbled across this movie.

If however, you’ve not yet come across this Iranian movie, Under The Shadow, I sincerely recommend that your make the effort to put this at the top of your list.

Beautifully shot and set in war-torn Tehran in the 1980’s, the film’s choice of timing and location is no mere accident.

We’re thrust into a world that is literally being ripped apart by outside forces and is a scary place to be, but it’s what lurks inside that you should really be afraid of, and this is where writer and director Babak Anvari, really comes into his own.

Following the story of Shideh and her daughter Dorsa, as they face the demons or in this case Djinn that resides in their apartment building.

It is in part, the setting that allows for these trepidations to play on the mind, that you are left pondering whether or not the danger that faces them is inherently of their own imagination or an actual entity intent on destroying their souls.

The performances are incredibly strong, particularly by Narges Rashidi who plays Shideh, and delivers a compelling portrayal of a mother struggling with her place in the world.

She’s been ostracised from the medical world following her political protests.

And she also struggles in her relationship with her daughter Dorsa, finding the need for compassion lacking and constantly questioning her own worth and comparing herself to her husband, Iraj, who seems naturally gifted in this field. Dorsa recognises this too and often turns to her father for comfort.

So when Iraj leaves to aids the military in a heavy conflicted area, Shideh and Dorsa are forced together under trying circumstances and conflicts arise as a result.

It is however, the unquestionable love that Shideh has for Dorsa that is tested and the attention paid on their relationship that proves to be the real winner in this movie.

I cannot recommend Under The Shadow enough. I found it so rewarding to watch a movie that was intelligent, strong and impactful, much like the performances that were on display throughout.

And it’s a front runner for best movie of 2016 as a result.

  • Paul Farrell