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Half Moon

Miraculous things with an amateur cast
By GERALD PEARY  |  August 22, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
HALF MOON: A grim death-trip film from Bahman Ghobadi.

Bahman Ghobadi’s new feature returns to the severe locale of many of his acclaimed earlier movies (A Time for Drunken Horses, etc.), the forbidden mountains between Iran and Iraq. A motley troupe of Kurdish musicians living in Iran try to get past vigilant, Kurd-hating border guards into now-liberated Kurdistan and, through their songs, celebrate the end of Saddam Hussein. Given that Kurdish freedom is perhaps the only positive thing in today’s Iraq, Half Moon is a surprisingly grim death-trip film, dominated by foreboding images of snow and open graves. Even the Kurdish music is played in fits and starts, never becoming joyful and transcendent. Still, as always, Ghobadi does miraculous things with his amateur cast, and some shots of the terrain are as surreal and incandescent as the dreamy landscapes of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo.
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