A Moment of Innocence (1999)



Critic Consensus: Probing the nature of truth and memory with tenderness and humor, A Moment of Innocence serves as a breathtaking high point in Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's filmography.

A Moment of Innocence Photos

Movie Info

In Tehran, a former policeman in his forties gets in contact with the Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, reminding the filmmaker that he had promised him a part in his next movie. In fact, the two men had "met" 20 years earlier under rather dramatic circumstances: in 1975, the young Makhmalbaf, a dissident under the Shah's regime, stabbed this policeman while trying to steal his revolver. Imprisoned, the future filmmaker was released during the height of the Revolution. Instead of coming through with a role for the policeman, Makhmalbaf suggests that he prepares a restaging of that politically dramatic moment during '70s Iran from his own point of view as a former law enforcer; Makhmalbaf will prepare his own restaging as well, so that both stories could be woven into a dramatization, which Makhmalbaf and his crew would shoot. What results is an exercise in perspective and layered dramatic parody: each of the protagonists will have a small film crew and re-create the event as he saw it.
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker Films


Mirhadi Tayebi
as The Policeman
Ali Bakhshi
as The Young Policeman
Mohsen Makhmalbaf
as The Director
Ammar Tafti
as The Young Director
Maryam Mohamadamini
as The Young Woman

Critic Reviews for A Moment of Innocence

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (12)

It is rare when a single image can sum up the emotional core of an entire movie, but the final freeze-frame of A Moment of Innocence is so moving in its completeness, it reminds us with jarring simplicity that we are in the hands of a genuine artist.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Though its methods lie somewhere between Pirandello and Rashomon, A Moment Of Innocence adds a personal dimension that's uniquely its own, as Makhmalbaf's investigation into the past evolves into a touching act of contrition.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

What emerges is a consideration of the relativity of truth and memory.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Too smug and too self-indulgent.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
New York Post
Top Critic

This is one of the best features of the prolific and unpredictable Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This comedy of mixed motives and recently freshened memories becomes increasingly passionate.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Moment of Innocence


Like Close-Up, this recreates a scene from Makhmalbaf's life, and it's even more brilliant in its execution. What results is a deceptively simple treatise on memory, regret, truth, perception, idealism, filmmaking and politics. There are some truly astonishing surprises in the story and in the telling of the story. Most startling and moving of all is the freeze-frame ending, a rewriting of history as desired by the actors themselves. And it's done with a light touch, often delightfully comic.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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