Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Time For Drunken Horses (2000) Film Review
In a small village near the border between Iran and Iraq, a set of siblings struggle to help each other, as they battle to earn enough to save their crippled brother. Older sister Rojine and brother Ayoub pack glasses for precious little money. Younger sister Amaneh looks after the helpless Madi and baby sister Kolsoum. Their life is thrown into further turmoil when their father is killed by a landmine, whilst smuggling goods on the mule train run across the border. Only an expensive operation can save Madi, and, in a winter so cold that even the mules are given alcohol to keep them warm (and placid), it seems unlikely they can survive.
A Time For Drunken Horses has picked up an impressive list of accolades on the festival circuit and it's easy to see why. Beautifully shot, in a near documentary style, by Bahman Ghobadi, it really draws the viewer into the plight of the many Kurdish families without a homeland. Of particular beauty are the long shots of the mules and their masters struggling to carry tractor tires up a hill, and subsequent image of the dark tires rolling back down towards the camera after the train is ambushed
The director has taken a chance by casting a set of amateurs in the main roles, but they put in such convincing performances that it just adds to the documentary feel. However, what the film lacks is a proper heart and story. Comparisons with Himalaya are inevitable, and ultimately A Time For Drunken Horses is too bleak and unstructured to bring the same enjoyment. Nevertheless, this is stark reminder of the harsh realities of life suffered by many across the world.Reviewed on: 22 Feb 2003