Kissing the Moon-Like Face
PROD Manouchehr Mohammadi
SCR Homayoun Assadian
CAM Hossein Jafarian
ED Hayedeh Safiyari
MUS Farhad Assadian
PROD CO Soureh Cinema Organization
This Iranian home-front drama comes from filmmaker Homayoun Assadian, whose last film, 2010’s Gold and Copper, showed a similar domestic focus on the daily lives of Iranians as they deal with universal human grievances and glories, all while struggling with the unique qualities of life in modern Iran. Think of Hollywood’s post-Second World War “issue” movies, such as The Best Years of Our Lives, and you have a very loose model for the refreshingly direct and earnest style of melodrama that Assadian practices.
Etherem and Forugh are a pair of elderly ladies, neighbours and acquaintances for more than four decades. Both of their sons were victims of the staggeringly wasteful Iraq-Iran war, which lasted eight years (1980-88), killed over half a million Iraqis and Iranians, and, after the bloodshed crawled to a halt, changed exactly nothing territorially. Neither sons’ remains have ever been found. Now, more than 20 years after the conflict—known as the “Sacred Defense” in official Iranian propaganda—has ended, Forugh has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. She has little time left.
As this news arrives, so comes another morbid revelation: the partial remains of Etherem’s son have been recovered. Etherem hatches a plan that will, in the perverse postwar world she shares with her longtime friend Forugh, perhaps bring the women some kind of peace. Assadian gives us a film that speaks with deep knowledge of the long, ineradicable scars of war, of Iran today, and of loss and friendship.