‘The Last Days of Winter’ gives unique look past prison walls


Kat Sarafianos

The Last Days of Winter,’ directed by Mehrdad Osoukei, offers a rare look into the walls of a Tehranian youth detention center with a special wing for offenders younger than 15 years old.
The wing held seven Iranian young boys, who were in there for various crimes ranging from drug possession to motorcycle theft.
While the living conditions are clean and fair,  the staff is constructive and inflict no abuse and the boys even enjoy occasional field trips, the documentary is filled with talking heads of their confessions of unhappiness stemming from their isolated from their families.
The interview subjects are deep for boys as young as they are, but all have faced complicated lives, dealing with abandonment by their parents, drug addiction, poverty and homelessness.
“The Last Days of Winter,” while short in length, takes the perfect approach to displaying these boy’s troubles and loneliness.
Shots of them, crying under blankets when no one is looking, interviews discussing suicidal thoughts and some of their bleak looks on the future all come together to paint these boy’s not as convicts they’ve been labeled as, but as children who have been thrown in a cycle of poverty that doesn’t seem to have a light at the end of the tunnel.
The film brought me to tears several times when hearing the truly hopeless confessions of the boys. It seemed as if it was without a doubt that life had rejected them and they felt they had nothing to offer the world.
This documentary makes you think about not only the troubles the boys are going through, but of the cruel injustice that was done to them by isolating them from family, friends and hope.
In-depth, blatantly honest interviews show how the other side lives — in this case, the side we never really thought about, let alone knew existed.
See ‘The Last Days of Winter’ today, March 6 at 8 p.m. at Willy Wilson at the Ragtag Cinema as part of the True/False Film Festival.