Iranian woman Shayda finds refuge in a women’s shelter with her 6-year-young daughter, Mona, hiding from her estranged husband, Hossein, and seeking a permanent separation with divorce. The refuge provides a roof over their heads and kindness through the efforts of the shelter worker (Leah Purcell), while Shayda and Mona attempt a fresh start with the promise of freedom ahead. But when the legal system grants Hossein access rights to their daughter, Shayda’s life is once again under threat, with the looming uncertainty that he will try to take Mona back to Iran.
Drawn from personal experiences, Iranian-Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari’s powerful debut feature is a beautifully crafted, poetic vérité portrayal of courage and compassion, anchored by a heart-rending performance by Zar Amir Ebrahimi (2022 Cannes’ Best Actress award winner for Holy Spider, Cannes 2022). – SFF 2022
Content warning: Contains stroboscopic imagery; strong impact domestic violence themes.
Audience Award Winner: World Cinema Dramatic | Sundance Film Festival 2023
Directed by Noora Niasari