For everyone Film review: Shayda, Madman Entertainment

One in four Australian women experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner, yet concrete steps to address this horrific epidemic remain stubbornly elusive. This scourge goes to the heart of Iranian-Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari’s arresting, semi-autobiographical debut feature.

Set during Persian New Year in 1995, it casts impressive Holy Spider lead Zar Amir Ebrahimi as an analogue of the writer/director’s mother and Selina Zahednia as her six-year-old self, hunkering down in a Melbourne women’s shelter run by The Drover’s Wife star Leah Purcell.

Casting comedian Osamah Sami against type as the menacing husband determined to drag them back to Iran works exceptionally well in piercing the ‘good man’ platitudes all too often offered after horrific violence occurs.

This hope-filled film is a testament to indomitable matriarchal strength and the determination of Niasari’s mother to carve out a better life for them that also embraces the rich vitality of Persian culture. Powerful stuff.

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