Sunday, January 24, 2010

a time for drunken horses

 i watched this movie on LINK-TV a month or so ago, but this morning when i awoke from my all-night-nightmare (everytime i went back to sleep, i kept on dreaming it), they were interviewing the filmmaker (bahman ghobadi) of it and also discussing his other films.  turns out this is the first feature film in kurdish to achieve an international release - the kurdish language was banned in iranian schools since the 1940s.  one of his other films, half moon (2006) has been banned from iran altogether.  he also said that he has been unable to get any permits to make more films, he believed it was because he was kurdish.

this one is a must see for anyone who has netflix.  i put it up there with children of heaven and the sun also rises.  it is a work of art, for sure - and you will fall in love with the characters (who are based on real people...).  just as a warning, it will break your heart.  it isn't one of those movies that, once it is over, you have a warm feeling in your heart.  it leaves you tired and breathless, just like the people who live that life every day probably feel.

here is a synopsis for those of you who won't watch it unless you know what is going on:

Newcomer writer/director Bahman Ghobadi continues exploring the plight of children in his rugged country with A Time for Drunken Horses. The helmer delves into the darker side of childhood with his tale of Ayoub and his struggling, little family in the mountainous region of Kurdish Iran. Ayoub becomes the head of his family after they learn of the death of their smuggler father. On the heals of this shock comes word from the local doctor that Madi, Ayoub's ailing dwarf brother, will die without a crucial operation. Even with the surgery, little Madi may only live for 7 or 8 months. This matters not for the orphaned family and earning the money for the operation becomes the priority of them all. In the hard, desolate land of the border between Iran and Iraq, this is a near impossibility for the hard-pressed little boy. An arranged marriage for Ayoub's sister Rojin also fails to bring hope as her groom's mother reneges on the agreement to take care of Madi, too. Ayoub then faces his greatest challenge as he fights harsh conditions and the threat of ambush as he smuggles tires to earn the money for Madi. The film ends with this quest unfulfilled, but with an understanding of Ayoub and the rest.

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