Time carries two horizons: the past and the future.Between those two horizons a father exhorts his son to listen to him.The father sits facing the past, where his homeland has been for centuries, where his ancestors lived.The son stands facing the future, where change will have its way, where hope affords new tactics.The son respects his father.The father wants both horizons for his son.
“The Broken Moon” is a documentary constructed like a narrative tale. It is sufficiently engaging to experience this familiar nodal point in a father and son relationship just because it takes place in the Western Himalayas.So thoroughly foreign, yet so simply familiar, this story confronts difficulties that break up families and chisel away cultural tradition.This small and modest movie is as big and stark as its dry mountain setting.
The father is well aware of the plight of the nomads in this harsh region. Water that once ran freely has become harder to find.The grass no long greens so well.Their herds are threatened. Along with only a couple of specifics of this sort, there is one reference to global warming when a doctor visits their village.
After this touching story reaches a poignant resolution, a statement displays on screen that 1.3 billion people live in the watershed of the Himalaya Mountains.This is too important to insist it be a surprise revelation.Glaciers are receding faster in the Himalayas than anywhere else in the world.
Horizons never recede.They silently watch the choices we make inside them.
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Q and A with “The Broken Moon” director Marcos Negrão
Chuck Jaffee: To raise awareness about more than a billion people affected by global warming in the Himalayan watershed, you tell a father-son story about a sparse, isolated, primitive tribe of nomads. Why?
Marcos Negrão: Our idea was to produce a film not based on scientific [details], specialists, and graphics,but to find a real and intimate human story of people suffering the effects of climate change. [This father-son story] represents very well the reality of most Himalaya mountain people that are becoming environmental refugees.
CJ: "The Broken Moon" has a narrative style that does not seem like a documentary. What about this creative choice exceeded your expectations?
MN: The small production team, me and a local assistant, became part of the group and developed an intimate camera. The conversations between characters always flowed more naturally compared with formal testimonials.
CJ: The people in this movie live what might be called a primitive life, and yet clearly, their lives are touched by modern things including technology.
MN: Technology is a reality in their lives, and many young nomads move to the city attracted by music players, mobile phones, jeeps.... Even traditional old nomads are using solar panels and batteries. But they have a very clear and strong sense about the importance of their traditional culture.
CJ: What does "broken moon" mean?
MN: Broken Moon is an ancient term to describe the Ladakh region, where the film was made.It is "arid" and "sterile" looking, like a piece of the moon.