Luna Papa is a 1999 surrealist adventure directed by Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov. The film is in Russian and Tajik, but is produced by collaborative effort including German, Japanese, Tajik, Uzbek, Austrian, Swiss, French, and Russian production companies. Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova stars the enigmatic and charismatic main character Mamlakat who becomes pregnant after she is raped. Her brother is mentally unique and mute, Nasreddin, is portrayed by German actor Moritz Bleibtreu. The townspeople wish to chase her out of town for breaking tradition but her father is ever-supportive and insists on keeping the baby. The film is a comedy but a dark one with feverish and delightful childishness. Luna Papa is narrated by Mamlakat’s unborn child and has few plot lines that are logical but that is its inherent surrealist charm.
Luna Papa is a difficult film to describe considering that there is quite literally nothing like it. It is the kind of film that mixes Salvador Dali paintings, Shakespearean characters, American pop culture references, and a Soviet aesthetic. The film is minimalist with characters that are endearing and scenes that are memorable. This is the kind of film that you can’t predict how you’ll feel about it until you’ve seen it; it confounds and delights. It is just the kind of wonderful mystery that is fit for the Best Foreign Film Awardsie.