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Starless Dreams

Directed by Mehrdad Oskouei
Iran, Documentary, 2016, 76 mins., in Farsi with English subtitles

Friday, February 24th, 2017 at 10 a.m.

Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave.


Themes & Subjects: Islamic Studies, Juvenile Justice, Women’s Studies, Adolescence, Family Relations

Synopsis: Murder, drug addiction, hijacking cars, running away from home: these are just a few of the crimes that the girls from the rehabilitation center for juvenile delinquents in Tehran have committed. For seven years, director Mehrdad Oskouei sought permission from the Iranian authorities to allow him to film an imprisoned population, otherwise hidden from the public eye. The result is an incredibly personal documentary about the dreams, nightmares, and hopes of the women in this all-female facility. Their individual stories show their desire to return to freedom and live a normal life, but also the fear of what is waiting for them on the outside.

Resources for teachers:

Film’s website with director statement.

Variety review.

New York Times review.

Photo essay featuring young women at Zibashahr prison.

Alternative perspectives on Iranian youth, CNN article.

Amnesty International report on the death penalty and juvenile offenders in Iran.


Global Classroom FAQs

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.