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"The first great horror film of the year." – Indiewire

Following in the acclaim of Farsi-language hit A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – and drawing from the DNA of The Babadook – this standout debut feature from Babak Anvari offers a novel take on time-honoured horror scares, wrapped in a subversively feminist critique of Iranian sexism.

It is post-revolution Tehran in the late 1980s. Shideh is blacklisted from medical school due to her past political activities. As the calamities of war close in around her, she finds herself isolated with her daughter, Dorsa, whose behaviour becomes increasingly strange after an unexploded missile hits their apartment block. Shideh believes the bomb has brought djinn – Middle Eastern spirits that travel on the wind – into their home, and now she must fight these supernatural forces to save herself and her daughter.

As smart as it is scary, Under the Shadow taps into the universal language of horror yet filters it through an astute and rarely experienced cultural lens, which makes it a thrilling reimagining of the genre.

"Magnificently intense … under its scares, Under the Shadow serves as an impassioned allegory for female oppression, but Anvari doesn't shortchange horror fans. He delivers an entertainment that's fun to watch, and subversively incisive for those willing to read between the lines." – The Guardian

MIFF Film Programmer Al Cossar will host a Q&A with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh at the session on Friday 29 July.

Zak Hepburn will introduce the session on Saturday 30 July with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh.