Mamo, an old and legendary Kurdish musician living in Iran, plans to give one final concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. After seven months of trying to get a permit and rounding up his ten sons, he...
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Mohammad Amir Naji,
Mamo, an old and legendary Kurdish musician living in Iran, plans to give one final concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. After seven months of trying to get a permit and rounding up his ten sons, he sets out for the long and troublesome journey in a derelict bus, denying a recurring vision of his own death at half moon. Halfway the party halts at a small village to pick up female singer Hesho, which will only add to the difficulty of the undertaking, as it is forbidden for Iranian women to sing in public, let alone in the company of men. But Mamo is determined to carry through, if not for the gullible antics of the bus driver. Written by
Swie Tio <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reviewed at its 3rd & final screening Sat. Sept 16, 2006 at the Varsity 3 cinema during the Toronto International Film Festival. The film had world premiered earlier during the fest on Sept 9 at the Isabel Bader Theatre.
This road movie with touches of dark comedy was a pleasure to see and touched the heart many times. It is story of a "Kurdish Mozart" (as imagined by the director - a fictional living legend Kurdish composer/musician with a whole orchestra of sons and daughters) and his struggle to get to a major music festival in Iraqi Kurdistan from Irani Kurdistan. It was fascinating and life-affirming.
Even as the film had several moments of desperation and despair on the way the whole thing was lightened by touches like a comedic bus driver, various moments of interaction between the father and his sometimes reluctant or rebellious sons and the resilience of a young woman named Papooli (Butterfly) who was born with the name Niwe mung (Half Moon).
Director Bahman Ghobadi was an enthusiastic show-up for the 3rd screening and gave many interesting tidbits during his Q&A such as info on the banning of female singing and musicians in present day Iran for the past 28 years, that his self-censorship on the film did not help it to get past Irani censors so that he may re-cut the film for the later general international release now anyway (restoring more scenes of female singing & playing) and that the whole 7 months of seeking for travel permits subplot in this film was a nod to the struggles he had to get his earlier "Turtles Can Fly" film made.
This film was 1 of 7 in TIFF 2006's Mozart - A New Crowned Hope series which is a sneak peek at the series before it screens at the Vienna Mozart Year Festival in December 2006.
Highly recommended and a worthy successor to the director's previous films.
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