Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Cast: Ayoub Ahmadi, Ameneh Ekhtiar-Dini, Medi Ekhtiar-Dini
In Kurdish, with English Subtitles
The following is an except from Roger Ebert's review of the movie in 2000:
"A Time for Drunken Horses" supplies faces to go with news stories about the Kurdish peoples of Iran, Iraq and Turkey, people whose lands to this day are protected against Saddam Hussein's force by a no-fly zone enforced by the United States. Why Hussein or anyone else would feel threatened by these isolated and desperate ly poor people is an enigma, but the movie is not about politics. It is about survival.
My take on the movie:
I didn't know about the piece of land inhabited by Kurdish peoples being protected against Saddam, Hussein's force. I didn't see that in the movie. I'm only interested in the almost documentary-style of presenting the story of children who will do anything, and against the harsh environment (cold winter, dangerous landmines, sporadic gunfire near the border) where they live, to survive, in an isolated place where regulation against child labor is irrelevant. At some point I was reminded of a scene in The Bicycle Thieves (one of the greatest films ever made). The movie is visually arresting. Acting performances of important characters are raw and believable. The ending is uncertain, but something to think about.
There are two metaphors presented in the movie. One is the deformed body of 15-year-old dwarf who is an important character. This might be the metaphor for stalled and practically hopeless existence of the people in that piece of protected land. The other is the drunken horses. The horses are actually mules that are used in smuggling activities of the peoples of the land. These people cross the border where they can sell tyres and other items for a better price. They use these literally drunken horses, that are fed with wine-stained water, to transport the goods, not minding the perils of the journey to a destination where there's a war.
Date seen: June 12, 2015