Combustible Celluloid
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With: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi
Written by: Babak Anvari
Directed by: Babak Anvari
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, scary images and brief language
Running Time: 84
Date: 10/07/2016

Under the Shadow (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Djinn Sling

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Written and directed by Babak Anvari, Under the Shadow (2016) is all the more powerful for being steeped in world affairs, and for vividly capturing the emotional sense of what it might be like to be caught in a war. It's the 1980s, during the long Iran-Iraq conflict, and Shideh (Narges Rashidi) is forbidden to re-enter medical school because of her past as a political demonstrator. Her husband has been called off to serve in the war effort, and she must take care of her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) alone, with the threat of Iraqi bombs falling on their Tehran home. Worse, a Djinn has become attached to Dorsa, and the girl, sick with fever, refuses to evacuate until her missing doll is found. The film — best viewed in its original Persian with English subtitles — concentrates on realism and on small details of life rather than elaborate visual effects of scares, but the film nonetheless remains a satisfyingly unsettling experience.

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