Moment of Innocence
Time Out saysMakhmalbaf's film elides fact and fiction, vérité and fantasy, and subtly points up the high esteem and selfish hopes invested in the director by his admirers. A former police officer travels to Tehran to audition for a role in director Makhmalbaf next film. The two recognise each other as pre-revolutionary opponents from the early '70s: the 17-year-old Makhmalbaf had attempted to disarm the policeman, stabbing him, and receiving a bullet wound and a prison sentence for his pains. Unlike Makhmalbaf's, the ex-cop's scars have yet to heal. Out of curiosity the two men agree to collaborate on a film about the incident, each casting, coaching and directing his own younger self in a series of turns which take on meaning for both sides and generations involved. A merry analogist, Makhmalbaf draws a wealth of parallels, between ages and eras, hopes and fears. His approach to narrative can appear cryptic, his metaphors dense, but it seems churlish to quarrel with a film that sends one character searching a bazaar, asking of bystanders, 'Have you seen a ray of sunlight here?'