A Time For Drunken Horses, Bahman Ghobadi

What does it mean to be a man, when you are still a child?

This film begins with written dialogue from the writer and director of the movie that explains that this movie was shot using actual situations and actors. It is important to understand the strife and depravity of the situation nears the borders of Iran and Iraq; where children are the actual victims of the skirmishes of men.

The film starts out with a market, where some kids are peddling and working wrapping glassware for dinars. Ayoub, his sister Amaneh, and brother Madi are in the market working. Ayoub gets the opportunity to smuggle wares along a dangerous path to Iraq for money. He goes along with his employer to carry a large load to make money for his family. When a hidden landmine kills the father of five children, the eldest of the children, take the responsibility for the household. Here, Ayoub is now the new male head of his household. He is 12 years old and must be the primary caregiver of his three sisters and his 16-year-old, severely disabled, brother.

So many burdens now placed on Ayoub’s shoulder: he has to worry about feeding his small family and making sure his brother, Madi, takes his medication on time. Should he miss, a dosage, his oldest sister, Rojin will be forced into marriage to alleviate the family’s burden. The reality and frailty of Ayoub’s situation bring the most hardened movie viewer to tears. It all begins when Ayoub realizes that he would not be paid for his load he carried along a treacherous path, full of land mines and bandits. As in all poignant drama films, things do not go according to plan.

To save his brother–Ayoub must now make the trek alone, with his brother and a mule he stole from his Uncle. He had to get to Iraq where he would fetch enough money to pay for his brother’s life-saving operation; however, he is running out of time. To get the mules to brave the harsh conditions, the smugglers give them alcohol in their water. (This is how the film gets its name.) Even the mules ‘knew’ making this trip is dangerous. The animals are made ‘drunk’ to be easily maneuverable in the harsh mountainous conditions.

This says a tremendous amount about the courage of Ayoub, who bares the greatest burden in this film.

I have never seen a film like this before: where small children are the main characters in real-time situations as harsh as in this film. This is a heartbreaking tale that I highly recommend. A Time For Drunken Horses (2000) is a film that questions the viewer’s dedication to their families. Questions the very lengths one would go just to care for the ones they love.

Samani Baraye Masti Asbha” (A Time for Drunken Horses) (2000) is voiced in its original Kurdish & Persian languages. To fully appreciate the significance of the film, it is recommended that you view in the original Kurdish language with English subtitles.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • Very Good

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  • Last modified: 2016-04-27

Review Summary:

Bahman Ghobadi's 'A time for drunken horses' "What does it mean to be a man, when you are still a child?"

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