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A Time for Drunken Horses

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A Time for Drunken Horses

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
77 minutes
Limited Release Date:
10/27/00
performer:
Ayoub Ahmadi, Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini
director:
Bahman Ghobadi
Producers:
MK2
distributor:
Shooting Gallery
author:
Bahman Ghobadi
genre:
Drama, Foreign Language

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. A-