• Golden Globe Awards

When the Moon Was Full (Iran)

“My solemn gaze roved over your innocent face,” it says in a framed poem that Abdol-Hamid (Hootan Shakiba) brought to the woman he wants to marry at the beginning of Narges Abyar’s When the Moon Was Full. Faezeh (Elnaz Shakerdoost) catches his attention while shopping at the market in Zehedan, in southeastern Iran, and he is obviously smitten. He has brought the two families together and hopes for her parents’ blessing to marry her. But something is not quite right. Hamid’s mother Ghamnaz (Fereshteh Sadre Orafaee) warns Faezeh that this union might not be in her best interest. “My son is no good for you”, she says as she has a minute with her alone in the kitchen. But Faezeh is also smitten and soon a wedding is arranged and celebrated in the backyard of her family home. When the police arrive and one of Hamid’s brothers is handcuffed and a stockpile of arms and money is found in the house, Hamid admits that they are not safe in Iran. After the newlyweds have spent a beautiful honeymoon in the towns of Balochistan, close to the Pakistan border, Hamid escapes to Pakistan where his brother Abdol-Malek (Armin Rahimian) has become a prominent Jihadist and the leader of the terror group Jundallah. Hamid later convinces Faezeh to follow him with their young son, but instead of getting visas to Europe as promised, he wants her to stay in Pakistan as he is becoming more and more convinced that his brother is right that “Jihad and killing God’s enemies is essential.”Ghamnaz is distraught that she cannot help Faezeh as the young woman starts to discover what her husband’s family is all about. “Women’s words are worthless, whether a mom or a wife,” Ghamnaz says and adds: “Al Qaeda believes a woman is less than dirt.” When Faezeh’s brother’s murder is broadcast on national television in Iran, the audience knows that there is little chance that Abyar’s story will have a happy ending. The female director, who has also written the script, had no choice. The film is based on a family’s horrifying true story which she honors by telling.