IDFA - A Moment of Innocence
Mohsen Makhmalbaf / IR, FR, 1996 / 78 min.
In 1974, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 17 years old and fighting for democracy in Iran, was shot by a young policeman. Subsequently, Makhmalbaf was incarcerated and tortured by the totalitarian regime. He wasn’t released until four and a half years later, during the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
Makhmalbaf launched a successful career as a filmmaker, and as such was approached years later by the police officer with whom he had clashed. The man wanted to become an actor.
That is where A Moment of Innocence begins: a man arrives at the gate of the Makhmalbaf family home and is greeted by their little daughter. From then on, the film unfolds like an ingenious game of past and present, stagings and reconstructions, idealism and treachery. This turns the film into a striking combination of personal history, documentary and fiction.
The director, who plays himself and the policeman cast and coach their young selves in the build-up to the shooting of the crucial incident, which took place 20 years before. In 78 minutes, Makhmalbaf builds up to a climax in which love and decay, youth and old age, image and memory converge.
Followed by an interview with director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, led by film critic Eric Hynes. Meditating on the opposition of the archetypal figures of antagonist and protagonist, the two discuss memory, perspective and idealization in this autobiographical film, in which past and present collide.
On the 26th of November with Doc Talk.