Half Moon


After the fall of Saddam, graying paterfamilias and respected Kurdish musician Mamo (Ismail Ghaffari) commandeers a school bus and travels—along with his literal band of sons and a cockfighting driver—from Iranian to Iraqi Kurdistan to lawfully perform for the first time in 35 years. Commissioned by the New Crowned Hope festival in honor of Mozart’s 250th birthday (along with I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone and Syndromes and a Century), Turtles Can Fly writer-director Bahman Ghobadi’s picturesque road trip is less about preserving a musical heritage than accepting one’s fate, a mythic trek that’s both heartrending and boisterous—often as hauntingly absurdist as a Kusturica carnival. In an environment where border officials harass and American soldiers shoot at anything that moves, the grizzled travelers discuss their accounts before stopping in a village where 1,334 exiled female singers wistfully harmonize as one.

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