Section: World Cinema
Directed by: Bahman Grobadi
Iran, Iraq, Austria, France, 2006
Dir.: Bahman Ghobadi
Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi’s fourth feature Half Moon is a moving and beautiful requiem for an iconic Kurdish musician in the twilight of his life. Despite his waning health, Mamo (Ismail Ghaffari) must lead a dozen of his sons to Iraq for a concert - "a cry of freedom" - to celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein and the end of his repression of Kurdish music. Their plan is to drive across the border between Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan for the big concert, but the road will be long and winding and the local wise man has predicted calamity. On their quest, the men will encounter the most sublime visions alongside the most horrendous brutality - primarily meted out by border guards.
Ghobadi's film is overflowing with beautifully lit, overwhelmingly evocative images, from majestic but barren landscapes to the craggy topography of the faces. When the men arrive at a village of exiled Kurdish singers, hundreds of women in brightly-coloured garb drum and sing in unison - the effect is heart-stopping. Rarely has gritty naturalism and visual poetry been married so stirringly as in Half Moon.
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