‘Starless Dreams’ (‘Royahaye Dame Sobh’): Berlin Review

Award-winning Iranian documaker Mehrdad Oskouei explores a agonise and joys of girls in a youthful correctional facility.

Mehrdad Oskouei’s repute as one of Iran’s excellent documentary filmmakers grows film by film. Starless Dreams (Royahaye Dame Sobh), shot in a youthful correctional trickery for girls underneath a age of 18, is a ideal instance of how absolute morality can be, when it’s underpinned by care for a subject. Without dallying or repetition, this brief underline doc gets directly to a indicate as it uncovers a disturbing back-stories of addiction, molestation, and misery that have broken a lives of a immature subjects. The film took home a best executive endowment during a new Fajr Intl. Film Festival and, after a general crawl in Berlin’s Generation sidebar, should be a contender during many events this year.

Oskouei’s small, all-male organisation spent 20 days in a trickery on a hinterland of Tehran, articulate to a immature women who gave them startling entrance to their lives and feelings. With their inexpensive tattoos and blank teeth, their hair-trigger emotions and impetuosity in front of a camera, these clear characters open to life.

The film opens on a sweet-faced immature lady half-hidden behind a large conduct scarf. She is messily fingerprinted, before it’s suggested that she is being certified into a sealed facility, infrequently referred to as a jail in a English subtitles. Like a director’s dual prior studies of boys vital in correctional centers, The Last Days of Winter and It’s Always Late for Freedom, a film takes no emanate with a establishment itself (which many girls cite to a alternatives: vital in violent homes or on a street) or a probity of their being arrested (ample ground comes out in a interviews.) It focuses wholly on a resources that incited them into unfortunate law-breakers, and sensitively points a finger during society’s insusceptibility and miss of caring.

The girls straightforwardly acknowledge where they’re entrance from. Their fathers are crooks and crackheads who infrequently sent them into a travel to acquire money; their mothers are mostly addicts who kick and bake them and close them up. One is shocked of going home to “chains and a beating.” Yet a family is their anxiety indicate and their obsession. Even yet several have already had children and boyfriends, it’s their mothers and grandmothers they prolonged for.

Gentle, wistful, though a lot of attitude, they demonstrate themselves in songs and drawings and puppets. To a camera they are utterly direct. One lively travel lady calls herself “Nobody” and nonchalantly explains that she was arrested for “adultery, armed robbery, a brothel.” The pleasing Masoumeh describes how, along with her sister and mother, she killed her addict father since they couldn’t take his beatings anymore. When asked what her dream is, a unhappy Khateneh replies, “to die”. She sees no approach her family can get behind together.

As in his acclaimed The Other Side of Burqa, Oskouei (always off camera) asks many questions though spends many of a time listening to a women speak in their possess voice. They seem aged over their years. As one lady sums it up, “The times have done me grow old.”

Production company: Oskouei Film Production

Director, screenwriter, produce: Mehrdad Oskouei 

Director of photography: Mohamad Hadadi

Editor: Amir Adibparvar

Music: Afshin Azizi

World sales: DreamLab Films  

Venue: Berlin Film Festival (Generation)

 76 minutes

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