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A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES

Iran, 2000 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Like the horses forced to travel the mountain in an involuntary state of intoxication, the children of this film have no recourse but to follow those who promise salvation. High in the mountains of Iranian Kurdistan, five orphaned siblings struggle to fend for themselves-matters made worse by the serious illness of Madi. His siblings look after him as best they can but there is not enough to feed them, let alone pay for an operation. Seeing no other option, the eldest sister Amaneh, agrees to marry an Iraqi who promises to help her sick brother. After an arduous journey to the border, the children are bitterly disappointed when Amaneh's in­laws refuse to take on the sick boy. Offered nothing but a mule, the children turn back through the treacherous terrain to their home. In his moving debut film. Bahman Ghobadi, uses non-professional actors, sketching a documentary and realistic picture of the harsh life of his homeland—juxtaposing this against the great warmth and the light bond between the siblings. "Theirs is the plight of all who have been displaced from their land—these children demonstrate that true grace is in the hands of the innocent."—Toronto Film Festival. Winner of the Camera D'Or at Cannes 2000.

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