January 20–29 at the Museum of the Moving Image
U.S. Theatrical Premiere
At a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Tehran, troubled teenage girls seek comfort and joy from one another, and contemplate their uncertain futures. Director Mehrdad Oskouei, one of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers, spent seven years securing access to this all-female facility, and he makes the awkwardness of being a male filmmaker in their environment a poignant and powerful aspect of his project. As the New Year approaches, the girls bond, and reveal—with playfully disarming honesty—the circumstances and sometimes shocking acts that resulted in their incarceration. Yet even as they rehabilitate and recover, they face dangers outside of the prison walls, even and at times especially within their own families. With startling frankness and “the conceptual rigor and emotional directness associated with the best of Iranian cinema” (Variety), Starless Dreams delivers an unforgettable portrayal of innocence lost and found. (Dir. Mehrdad Oskouei. 2016. 76 mins. In Persian with English subtitles.)
On January 21, the Museum will also screen It's Always Late for Freedom
and The Last Days of Winter, the first two installments of Oskouei's trilogy of films exploring the lives of incarcerated youth, focusing on boys at the crossroads between innocence and trauma.