The not-so-pretty horses

A Time For Drunken Horses (Iran)

Directed by Bahman Ghobadi

(Ayoub Ahmadi, Rojin Younessi, Ameneh Ekhtiar-Dini, Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini)


In Kurdish and Farsi w/ English subtitles


Iranian films stormed the area during the recent Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. Now considered the modern equivalent to the French New Wave, Iranian movies have become the film world’s hottest topic. A Time For Drunken Horses shows us why.

Co-winner of the Camera d’Or at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, A Time For Drunken Horses is a stunning portrait of the lives of a group of Kurdish children who trek the border between Iran and Iraq.

The story revolves around Ayoud, enduring a life of economic hardship with his two brothers and two sisters. With their mother dead and their father away, they are told that Madi, their handicapped brother, will die if he is not given treatment at a local hospital.

Though they lack the money for an operation, Madi’s family is determined to help him. Ayoub joins a gang of smugglers traveling to Iraq so that he may sell his mule and afford Madi’s care. The war-ravished mountains are so dangerous the smugglers are forced to get their horses drunk in order for them to go any further.

Crafted with a magnificent eye for detail, Ghobadi removes the frame from this portrait, allowing the viewer to see the rough edges and whole picture. A solemn voice of truth, the visuals of Ghobadi’s picture strain the emotions and break the heart.

Director Bahman Ghobadi’s first feature-length film, A Time For Drunken Horses borrows from his childhood memories in Kurdistan.

“I made this film as a humble tribute to my cultural heritage,” Ghobadi acknowledges.