Country: Iran
Original Title: Under the Shadow
Director: Babak Anvari
Release: 2016

utnder the shadow 01

World Cup Historic

The Iranian football team was Founded in 1920 but only participated for the first time in the World Cup in 1978.

The political and military conflicts of Iran reflected in their participation in international tournaments. They were out of 1982 and 1986 World Cups because of the war portrayed in the film we are about to discuss.

They qualified for 1998, 2006 and 2014 editions, making Russia the first time playing consecutive World Cups and the fifth total.

The player to watch is Sardar Azmoun, a young forward who plays in Russia since his 18 years old. Now, at 23 (years old) he’s already the fourth top scorer in the Iranian team’s history and has 0.74 goals per game for Iran.

Iranian Football team
Photo by Tasnim News Agency

I went to Iran match against Nigeria, both teams first match in the 2014 World Cup. It was one of the most boring matches I have ever seen, a 0-0 with nothing remarkable besides the boredom.

However, they made a great defensive match against Argentina. This one I watched only on television, but it was much better and Argentina won in a late goal from Messi.

I hope the Iranian team has something good to show us this World Cup, but like Morocco, it will be a hard group against Portugal and Spain.


Under the Shadow was directed by Babak Anvari, an Iranian director, have an Iranian cast led by the beautiful Narges Rashidi, set in Iran during the 80’s war against Iraq and completely in Persian. Yet, it’s a “British” film.

Under The Shadow

I decided to keep it in the Iranian spot here, because of the already pointed reasons.

utnder the shadow 04

Narges Rashidi is Shideh, struggling with her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) during the Iran–Iraq War, while the child believes there is a Jinn lurking around them.

I really liked Under the Shadow, and that’s why I choose to review it even after I found out it was actually mainly British. The film is even a BAFTA winner, of the 2017 “Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer” award. BAFTA meaning British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

utnder the shadow 07
Dorsa (Avin Manshadi)

زیر سایه

Shideh is a woman who abandoned the studies during the Iranian Revolution, and for that, she became labeled as a leftist activist by the University, making impossible her return to the medic school.

In a moment she was a young woman studying to become a doctor, taking part in a revolution that overthrown an old regime, now is a common housewife and mother, but want to be more than “just that”.

utnder the shadow 03
Shideh (Narges Rashidi)

She and the husband Iraj (Bobby Naderi) met in college. He didn’t drop out and became a doctor, and with the country at war, he was called to be a doctor right in the battlefront.

At the same time, the war intensifies in Tehran, but the mother decides that she and her daughter Dorsa will remain in the city, instead of going to live with her husband’s family.

As if the entire situation is not enough, Dorsa believes there is a Jinn in their building and that it stole her doll.

utnder the shadow 05
Breakfast table after Iraj left

There is definitely more to this movie than the apparent supernatural threat. If one wants, I am mostly sure that there will be plenty of interpretation of this movie that goes beyond the surface. Things I won’t touch because I won’t give spoilers.

I think I like pretty much everything about Under the Shadow. The acting is good, even from the child actors, I loved everything about the visuals of the movie, from lighting to colors and the story is good and well executed.

utnder the shadow 06
Shideh drinking tea sitting in a fancy armchair

That’s a good horror movie, relying on good characters and situations. There is jump scares but not in a stupid way, jump scare for the sake of jump scare.

Maybe like most people, I’m just a little tired of the current state of the mainstream horror movies and when we see something so different, with good quality in the sense of execution and horror, is very refreshing.

I already watched twice and possibly will watch it more times. I didn’t like as much to give a 10, but it is no doubt 9 Moons.


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