Monday, April 22

Makhmalbafs's “A Moment of Innocence” by Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad

Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad has kindly allowed us to post the text of his introduction to Mohsen Makhmalbaf's 'A Moment of Innocence", which A Nos Amours presented at the ICA in March 2013.

Rumi, a Persian mystic poet says in a poem, 

“Truth is a mirror which fell on Earth from God’s hand and broke.  Everyone picked up a piece and saw their own image in it and thought they had the truth.  But truth was divided among them all"

History, multiple truths, documentary, fiction and poetry mix in “A Moment of Innocence” a deceptively simple film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf who is one of Iran’s best known film-makers. He is not just remarkable for his accomplishment in filmmaking but also for taking a metaphoric personal journey that spans from being a religious guerrilla to becoming a secular world-renowned director.  He had not seen any films until the age of 21 due to a strict religious upbringing. He recalls his grandmother saying that whoever went to the movies would go to hell in the afterlife. After the 1979 revolution, he began his career as a self-taught ideological filmmaker, fully at the service of Islamic Republic.  He refers to this period as his first phase of filmmaking. Understandably his films of the period are unremarkable.

Tuesday, April 16

A Moment of Innocence?: The Political Potentials of Pop-up Film, by Ella Harris

Not so long ago A Nos Amours screened Moshen Maklmalbaf’s A Moment of Innocence (1996) at the ICA. The presentation of this Iranian film by A Nos Amours, a pop-up cinema collective, raised questions about the political potentials of pop-up as a new mode of cinema spectatorship.

Maklmalbaf’s quasi-autobiographical film, set in his home country, is an exploration of what it means to recreate a moment in history, and what such a re-exploration can hope to achieve. The film follows Moshen (playing himself) who is making a movie about an incident which was pivotal for his 17 year old self; the stabbing of a policeman during a political demonstration. Unexpectedly, the policeman himself returns, eager to take part in the film too, albeit with his own emotional agenda. Both men chose a ‘young me’ to act in the reconstruction and set about training the boys to embody their past-selves.