It’s Always Late for Freedom and The Last Days of Winter
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Mehrdad Oskouei. 2007/2011. Approx. 104 mins. In Persian with English subtitles.
These first two installments of Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei’s trilogy of films exploring the lives of incarcerated youth focus on boys at the crossroads between innocence and trauma. (The third installment, Starless Dreams, on view at the Museum from January 20-29, focuses on teenage girls.) It’s Always Late for Freedom (2007, 52 mins) introduces us to three adolescent detainees at the Tehran House of Correction who’ve committed crimes ranging from theft to drug smuggling to stabbing. But through Oskouei’s masterful eye and gentle offscreen questioning, we learn that they are teenagers like any others–teasing, playful, and in the throes of first love. And in The Last Days of Winter (2011, 52 mins), Oskouei follows seven young men, all under 15, in the days leading up to the Iranian New Year. With only twelve days to shoot, Oskouei follows their day to day activities at the facility and also joins them on a holiday excursion to the Caspian Sea. With no walls around them, the boys become more open, detailing their plans of the future, family and love, yet remain haunted by an unshakable sense of sadness and isolation.
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