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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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>
Half Moon begins amidst a frenetic atmosphere as a pair of fighting cocks scrap in a room packed full of jostling, shouting men. But from this boisterous opening there emerges a slow-paced road movie in which a group of Kurdish musicians undertake a bus journey to perform at a concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. Their trek takes us through some stunningly bleak scenery, from dull-brown dusty plains to snow-capped peaks and towns clinging to mountainsides.
The most striking scene in the film features a town full of hundreds of exiled female singers, who line the street and tops of buildings as the travelling musicians retrieve a fellow performer for the concert. The absurdity of this acts as a clever commentary on the banning of female musicians in Islamic Iran and there are countless further insights into the lives of Kurdish people throughout Half Moon. The nerve-wracking confrontations with border guards testify to the great difficulties faced by the Kurds in being divided across four countries and treated frequently as second-class citizens. Somewhat strangely for a film about travelling musicians the film does not afford a great deal of attention to the music of the people whom it portrays, but there are nevertheless some very interesting sounds to be heard here.
Engaging with the storyline can be difficult at times due the contrasting moods and a tendency to jump back and forth in time. Although not often laugh-out-loud in nature, there are many moments of warm-hearted humour during the film. On the other hand, dark omens abound throughout and create a growing sense of foreboding. The combination of these elements seems incongruous on occasion but they are drawn together in a moving climax. I found parts of the film falling into place long after I left my seat in the cinema and I regard that as a rare and valuable thing.
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