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.
Unrated (Not Rated)
Factory sealed DVD
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a film with no noticable special effects, just people, places, and cameras. Basically, a two brothers and two sisters are left orphaned when their father dies in a smuggling incident (their mother died before the film began). Their aunt and uncle help arrange a marriage for the oldest sister, with a Kurdish family across the border in Iraq. They assume that this family will take the oldest brother, who is severely mentally and physically disabled. They don't, and the younger brother and sister try to scrape and save money to get him an operation so that he will live a little longer. The name of the film comes from the fact that the conditions in the mountains are so bad that the smugglers have to get the mules drunk so they'll go. This movie ends in uncertainty, rather than having the tidy plot and finish so common in American movies. I highly recommend it.
The strong feature debut of Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi (`Turtles Can Fly' 'Marooned in Iraq') is a simple story against the background of stark reality of the Kurds living in Iran, or I should say, in Kurdistan the area that includes south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and western Iran. In this `A Time for Drunken Horses' Ghobadi a Kurd himself shows how children must survive on their own in Kurdish village, doing illegal (and highly dangerous) job of smuggling across the border between Iran and Iraq.
Ayoub is a 12-year-old boy who works in the town nearby, and he takes care of his elder physically handicapped brother Madi. Madi is slowly getting worse, and Ayoub knows that his brother needs an operation. Madi has also two sisters Rojin and Ameneh, but lost his mother recently, and another sad news arrive - the death of his father on the smuggling trip.
Now Ayoub must quit the school and work for his remaining family. This means Ayoub has to follow the...
The unimaginable struggle of orphaned Kurdish children living near the Iran-Iraq border is somewhat fictionalized in a story of their involvement in various smuggling scams in which they are routinely cheated of their compensation. Harrowing scenes of trying to roll huge truck tires over a snowy mountain under conditions so appalling that the mules and horses have to be fed whisky to get them to work. Director Bahman Ghobadi has fashioned an extraordinary 80-minute slice of life that refuses to be dismissed or forgotten by anyone who experiences it. Peter Bradshaw of UK's The Guardian says, "...this is a film with its own unflinching gaze, a film that makes children bear the burden of an existence too much for any adult. The pain and aftermath of war is painted here with indelible shades of pain.
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