A Time for Drunken Horses
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Winner of the Camera D or (Best First Feature) at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, A Time for
Drunken Horses announced Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi (Turtles Can Fly, No One Knows
About Persian Cats) as a major talent. His debut follows the heart-wrenching drama of a Kurdish
family living on the Iran-Iraq border. The only work available in this poverty-stricken locale is to
smuggle goods between the countries, through hills stalked by armed bandits. These dangers rob
Ayoub (Ayoub Ahmadi), Amaneh (Amaneh Ekhtiar-dini), Rojin (Rojin Younessi) and the developmentally
disabled Madi (Madi Ekhtiar-dini) of their parents, and they are forced to fend for
themselves. Ayoub is the eldest boy, and soon starts making the perilous overland journeys himself,
desperate to raise money for Madi s life-saving operation. Surviving the snowy valleys and marauding
thieves does not bring in enough money, and their uncle sets up an arranged marriage for Rojin,
threatening to split up the close-knit siblings. Haunting performances by the non-professional child
actors convey a devastating portrait of Kurdish life on the margins of Iranian society.
Deeply absorbing... A- --Entertainment Weekly
Haunting and unforgettable --Los Angeles Times
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Kurds have no country (Or three if you consider the Kurdish populations in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.
They have little or no representation in the governments. They have at times been prevented from teaching their children the Kurdish in Turkey and other places. Somehow they have maintained the Kurdish ethnic identity and subsisted any way they can.
This movie is by a Kurdish director and follows a family surviving by smuggling goods in the Iraq-Iran border.
It has a very ducumentary (Like you are watching the real smuggling.) feel to it.
The horses are given alcohol to help them against the gold and to keep them from bolting under gunfire and Mortar fire from the military guarding th border.
A difficult story to tell and a difficult story to watch. Everyone should see this film.
Couple of comments: first, this movie is filmed using nothing but local, non-professional actors, and what a performance each of them gives, non more so that Ayoub Ahmadi, the 12 yr. old boy (all of the actors used their real names in the movie). Second, it feels as if this movie was shot in "cinema verite" style, which brings you even closer into the scenes. Third, beware, there are a number of tough scenes in the movie which left me emotionally gut-punched, but making this movie all the more powerful.
This movie was originally released in 2000, and this DVD is the 2011 re-release by Lorber Films. Unfortunately there are no bonus materials whatsoever, which make this DVD reissue a missed opportunity. That aside, this movie brings an outstanding portrait of the human condition in one of the more challenging places on earth. So glad I saw this movie. If you are in the mood for a top-notch foreign movie that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, you cannot go wrong with this. "A Time For Drunken Horses" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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I have no idea what, exactly, Bahman Ghobadi, a Kurdish filmmaker currently...Read more