Set in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war, horror movie ‘Under the Shadow’ is the feature debut of Iranian director Babak Anvari.
Iranian-German actress Narges Rashidi stars as a mother, who struggles with her daughter to cope with the terrors of war-torn Iran and a mysterious evil that haunts their home.
She describes it as a subtle film that takes the time to develop the characters: “The movie and the character is so complex, you know. It’s not just a horror movie. It starts off as a social drama and then turns into this psychological thriller, and then has these horror elements towards the end. So I never saw it just has a horror movie. I saw it as a piece from the character’s view. And she’s going through so much and she has so many layers. And that was such a gift. “
Although the film is about Iran and entirely in Farsi, it was shot in Jordan in order to bypass censorship.
Born in Iran, Rashidi fled the country with her family at the age of five – settling in Germany, where she grew up. She now lives in Los Angeles but her childhood memories are still very present.
“I do remember the war, for example – which was very helpful for the part. I remember I was on my mum’s lap, and I was sleeping. And I heard noises and I woke up, and I was like, ‘Mum what was it?’ And she was like, ‘Nothing – just some bombs. Go on sleeping.’ Since the war was going on for such a long time, it became normal, in a way,” the actress explains.
Released to critical acclaim in the UK and US, ‘Under the Shadow’ is a co-production between the UK, Qatar and Jordan, and has been selected as the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.