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Starless Dreams

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
starless dreams

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A documentary interviewing the inmates of a girls' rehabilitation centre in Tehran

In Iran a woman can be jailed for leaving the house without a headscarf. So what’s the punishment for a teenage girl who steals a car or takes drugs? For some, it’s imprisonment in a rehabilitation facility like the one featured in this empathetic documentary by cinema professor Mehrdad Oskouei, who petitioned the authorities for seven years before he was allowed to make his film.

The crimes these women have committed range from harmless (running away from home) to genuinely shocking. ‘I killed my father’, says a 17-year-old girl matter-of-factly. But behind each one lies grim truths: stories of abuse, exposure to crime and drugs, marriage and pregnancy at 14 or 15. Their resilience is extraordinary. One girl, she calls herself Nobody, veers between hilarious and heartbreaking as she rails against the world.

There’s a sense that we’re not seeing everything here – the girls are interviewed in isolation and we get very little sense of how they’re treated by the centre’s staff. And Oskouei’s efforts to give his a film a half-happy ending are doomed to failure. Because the truth is, there’s no good here: these young women have already witnessed enough horror to last a lifetime, and in this unforgiving society their lot seems unlikely to improve. A grim but necessary watch.

Written by
Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Rated:TBC
  • Release date:Friday 25 November 2016
  • Duration:76 mins
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