An intimate documentary where a story about corporeality is interlaced with traumatic experiences from the past. Film letters of the director and her partner are intertwined with medical documentation, family photographs or takes from the underground. What seems to be an accidental collage is a coherent artistic expression of a contemporary woman.
Prior to seeing A Moon for my Father, I was uncertain of what to expect from the combination of sculpture and cinema, or sculpture in cinema. But this dialogue turns out to be incredibly productive and successful. The film insists on the materiality of things and of bodies, and confronts the viewer with the brutishness of physical processes, without sentimentality and without allowing familiar narratives (of heroism/melancholy/tragedy/triumph-over-adversity) to mediate or soften bodily facts. I loved the move from human tissue to milky latex, to palm trees, to the exhumation of an ants’ nest, the discovery of a fruit bat’s corpse, of an elephant’s skin, to the impossibility of smashing open a safe with an axe — and the way paying attention to the mute testimony of such objects speaks to processes of transformation, of decay, of death and of life itself. In the film, objects and materials also link to memories of Iran. Not only to girlish memories of childhood loves, but also to the collective memory of so many damaged, mutilated bodies produced by the decimation of the Iran-Iraq war, and the invitation to consider how those wounds, like the filmmaker’s, may be made visible and may be worn with pride. Finally, after following various tangents and digressions along the way, the circularity of the film brings about another kind of revolution. The artifice of sculptural and surgical reconstruction, by turns objectifying and dehumanising, improbably makes way for the miraculous appearance of new life. By Miranda Pennell