We gave it an A-
The children in A Time for Drunken Horses have none of the big eyed openness that makes young people such effective emissaries in other Iranian films like ”The White Balloon.” Instead, the nonprofessional cast of Bahman Ghobadi’s remarkable, slow, rough edged feature reveals a simple, piercing grimness and determination framed by the gray, icy landscape of Iranian Kurdistan.
That’s where the Kurdish director shot this documentary like drama (it shared the Camera d’Or this year at Cannes) about a family of impoverished, orphaned siblings trying to raise money for an operation that may save the life of their mortally ill, malformed brother, Madi (Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini).
The title refers to the alcohol used to fortify pack animals in the snow; when the beasts keel over, drunk, they’re treated with a harshness no more or less severe than that experienced by Ayoub (Ayoub Ahmadi), who, at the age of 12, becomes a smuggler in the snow, with no alcohol to fortify him. The sight is hard to take — and deeply absorbing.