The French Cinema Center selects a number of films produced in the European country and the rest of the world to be displayed in various French cinemas during what is called ‘Month of Documentary’.
Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei’s portrait of teenage inmates, Starless Dreams, was shown in cinemas in cities like Marseille, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse, Otterio, Ramonville, Jastar, Cover, Montagne, Willem Neuf Sorlot and Verdon Sur Gharon.
Winning 24 international awards so far, Starless Dreams marks the second Iranian documentary to have been screened in France on the occasion of Month of Documentary.
Starless Dreams narrates the lives of a group of young Iranian women who live together in a correctional and rehabilitation center for a variety of reasons ranging from drug dealing and trafficking, to pick-pocketing and manslaughter. Though bored with their incarcerated life, they are, nevertheless, scared about what might happen to them once outside. As the New Year approaches, they all hope to celebrate it with their families.
Starless Dreams won awards at the 34th Fajr Film festival and the 66th Berlin International film festival (Berlinale). Mehrdad Oskouei won the True Vision award at True/False film festival which is given to the best documentary filmmaker.
Starless Dreams had quite recently participated in Lithuania’s Inconvenient Films, October 13-November 8. The 10th edition of Inconvenient Films specializes in human rights themes.
“‘Sonita’ follows the life of an Afghan refugee in Tehran. She dreams of becoming a famous rapper, but her mother and brother have other plans – to sell her into marriage in Afghanistan. So the 40-year-old director steps in, giving the family cash to delay the marriage. At first reluctantly and then with single-minded determination, Ghaem Maghami directs her subject to safety. By the end, Sonita Alizadeh has travelled to Afghanistan and on to the US to take up a scholarship, without her family’s permission,” wrote a Guardian feature report of the film.
Mehrdad Oskouei is an Iranian filmmaker, producer, photographer and researcher born in Tehran in 1969 and later graduating in film direction from the University of Arts. His films have been screened at numerous festivals both at home and abroad to great critical acclaim, making him one of the major Iranian documentary makers. In 2010 Oskouei received the Dutch Prince Claus Award for his achievements.