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REVIEW - Shadows (Written and Directed by Mohadeseh Asadi Zadeh)

Scored 7/10 by MegaFlix Film Awards

By MegaFlix Film AwardsPublished 10 months ago 2 min read
Shadows (2023) Official Poster

Written, directed and produced by Mohadeseh Asadi Zadeh, 'Shadows' is an intense short crime drama, which is both thought-provoking and impactful, taking on the difficult subject matters of child abuse and domestic violence, and managing to do so with sensitivity and tact.

Haniyeh Aghayi, Hasan Hossein Zadeh, and Hamideh Bakhtiyari are well cast as the three main characters, all giving gritty and believable performances, whilst expert direction does a great job of employing a 'less is more' philosophy particularly with non-verbal aspects of the storytelling, which is incredibly effective as a means of allowing graphic and potentially disturbing aspects of the plot to be portrayed implicitly and with an air of dignity, rather than taking a more confrontational or shocking approach which might have been easier. The subtle approach does work very well here however, and most viewers will find it difficult not to share in the despair and trauma of the victim caught in the middle of an abusive father and the deaf ears of a community that doesn't believe her.

The pacing of this film leaves little room for viewers attention to escape and is effective at maintaining interest for the short duration, using some creative sequences and transitions. However, the audio levels for some of the dialogue seem rather muted in comparison to some of the music and background noise, which could have been problematic, were it not for clear and coherent subtitling.

The 'big moment' of the film towards the conclusion is a sudden and rapid escalation of violence, which has dire consequences for all involved, but again, because of the implied means of conveying this to the viewer, it is not clear whether or not this final assault is actually an accident or planned, leaving the viewer to speculate and imagine what really happened behind the closed door. This scene is well constructed and directed, and does a fair job, but the execution of it seems to fall a little flat compared to my expectations set in the opening of the movie.

Despite this, with a production budget of only $200, 'Shadows' stands as a testament to what can be achieved with only creative direction, a meaningful story, and the desire to tell it in a way which engages the viewer. The result here is a film which transcends language, is relatable to people from all walks of life, and just works.

Overall, in the face of budget constraints, Mohadeseh Asadi Zadeh has managed to deliver an exceptionally thought-provoking and powerful short film, which will be of interest to many people and could find a broad audience, but could be deemed too emotive for some, particularly those who have been affected by child abuse or domestic abuse; that said the message conveyed here is an important one, and despite some small technical flaws and budget constraints, this film could serve as a useful catalyst to raise awareness of such issues which can be upsetting and stressful to raise or discuss; as well as having the potential to help those living through such difficult situations and relationships to realise firstly, that they are not alone, and secondly, to seek support before it's too late.


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