Magazine article New Internationalist

[A Time for Drunken Horses]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[A Time for Drunken Horses]

Article excerpt

A Time for Drunken Horses

directed by Bahman Ghobadi

In a warehouse children wrap drinking glasses in old newspapers and pack them in boxes. Boys fight, punching hard, for jobs unloading smuggled goods from mules. Men savagely kick mules in the head to get them on their feet. Kurdish-Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi's engrossing first feature is painfully real.

In a Kurdish village on the Iranian side of the border with Iraq, four children are orphaned when an exploding mine kills their father, a smuggler. Their mother has died in childbirth and so Ayoub, aged around 12 or 13, leaves school to support the family. His disabled elder brother, Madi, needs daily medication and, without surgery, will soon die. This is, of course, wonderful material for a Hollywood melodrama.

Photos [Not Transcribed]

But Ghobadi's documentary-style film is as far as you can get from stage kids, the cult of the beautiful, and consoling messages. …

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