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Palmerston North Film Society Screening: A Time for Drunken


Wed 12 May 2010, 5:30pm
Wed 12 May 2010, 8:00pm

Where: Downtown Cinemas, 70 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Yearly Membership Waged: $85.00
  • Yearly Membership Unwaged: $70.00
  • Triple Feature Card: $30.00
  • High School Student Yearly: $30.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Ross Stevenson

A Time for Drunken Horses (Zamani baraye masti abshe)
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
Iran 2000 80mins
May 12th

Bahman Ghobadi was born in Iranian Kurdistan; his debut film is a shattering docu-drama set on the region's mountainous Iran-Iraq border.

In dialogue over some of the opening scenes, we meet three young Iranian Kurdish children: Ameneh, a teenage girl; Ayoub, her brother, who is about 12, and Madi, their 15-year-old brother, a dwarf whose fiercely observant face surmounts a tiny and twisted body. They live with their father, who, Ameneh matter-of-factly reports, works as a smuggler, taking goods by mule into Iraq, where they fetch a better price.

The children work every day in a nearby town. They are child labour, put to work wrapping glasses for export, or staggering under heavy loads they carry around the marketplace.

We see them in the back of a truck returning to their village. Ayoub and Ameneh sit close together, both helping to hold little Madi. Ayoub caresses his hair and Ameneh gently kisses him.

They love their crippled brother, who never speaks throughout the film, who must have regular injections of medicine, who needs an operation, who will probably die within the year even if he gets the operation.

The truck is stopped by guards and impounded. The three siblings struggle together through the snow, separated now from their father. Their existence is more desperate than ever. They become involved with mule-trains that smuggle truck tires over the mountains to Iraq.

The high mountain passes are so cold that the mules are given water laced with alcohol, to keep them going. Ameneh agrees to marry into a Kurdish family from across the mountains, if they will pay for Madi's operation. If this isn’t enough there is more to come.

“The kind of sadness the movie exudes is not everybody's idea of a good time. In fact, there are so many awful elements piled up that it's incredible the whole thing doesn't fall into melodrama right away. As if abject poverty and incurable illness aren't enough, add greed, selfishness, and cruelty, throw in an inhospitable climate and barren landscapes, and top it off with ambushes and landmines, and you have all the ingredients for a tear jerker of epic proportions. But like the smugglers stepping through the landmine-infested border regions, the fledging director avoids all the traps of his material and delivers a film that doesn't leave you bawling but thoroughly disturbed.” – World Film Review

Did you know?
This is the first feature film in Kurdish to achieve an international release. Kurdish was banned in Iranian schools since the 1940s.

Screenings are at 5.30pm and 8pm at Downtown Cinemas
Members only. Palmerston North Film Society Membership is available at the door before each screening and lasts for one full year.

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