A Moment of Innocence

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A Moment of Innocence

Director/Writer: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Cinematography: Mahmoud Kalari
Starring: Mirhadi Tayebi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Ali Bakhsi, Ammar Tafti
Studio information: New Yorker Films, 78 minutes
Original Theatrical Realease: 1996

Former militant revisits his past in fascinating blend of documentary and fiction

Before Mohsen Makhmalbaf was a filmmaker—before he was even an adult—he was an Islamic militant who stabbed a policeman in a botched attempt to take his gun, ending the officer’s career and landing himself in prison where he spent the next 5 years. Almost two decades later he takes a cue from Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up and recreates the event for A Moment of Innocence, a fascinating blend of documentary and fiction. Makhmalbaf humorously “documents” the casting of the young Mohsen and the young policeman and then films each of them traipsing across snowy Tehran to rehearse. The setup is all fictional, but it’s woven seamlessly with the truth of Makhmalbaf ’s personal history. Discarding his violent past, he presents the 1974 event as something unthinkable to a younger generation and arrives at a truly poetic, thoroughly optimistic conclusion.

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