Each September, Bolot Tagaev and his family practice a centuries old tradition, harvesting walnuts in one of the oldest walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan. Over the course of a single season, director Zaheed Mawani gracefully captures delicate sequences such as a child interacting with a snake, or sacks of walnuts being laid gently across an attic bed. Stories attached to the forest are told and retold over the fire at night, adding a mythic dimension.
As the narrative subtly charts the family’s way of life, their financial struggles, domestic chores, and conversations reveal a profound, and yet, wonderful isolation. Dialogue is sparse but poignant, reflecting upon their relationships, as well their connection with nature and faith. The film deliberately highlights the extraordinary landscape, providing a stark contrast to the modernity of the exterior world. A patient and meditative documentary, Harvest Moon illuminates a traditional livelihood which somehow persists, despite the ever-changing society outside. -AP