Two Legged Horse

World Cinema
(Iran, 2008, 101 mins)
US Premiere
Screenwriter(s) : Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Directed By: Samira Makhmalbaf

Cast: Ziya Mirza Mohamad, Haron Ahad, Gol Gotai Karimi, Khojeh Nader
Producer: Mehrdad Zonnour
Director of Photography: Farzad Jodat
Editor: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Music: Tolibkhon Shahidi
Sound Design: Hossein Mahdavi

Acclaimed director Samira Makhmalbaf (5 IN THE AFTERNOON, THE BLACKBOARD) returns to AFI FEST with TWO-LEGGED HORSE, an exploration of how two people can test the very limits of a human relationship. Set in Afghanistan, the film introduces us to a subculture of impoverished children who find shelter in a maze of abandoned sewer pipes. A father sets out to hire someone to attend to his severely disabled son, a young boy who is unable to walk. Mirvais, one of the inhabitants of the sewers, successfully competes for the job, which includes carrying the boy around on his back. It is not long, however, before Mirvais's simple duties are extended by his new young master, in ways that border on the sadomasochistic. The script was written by one of the world's greatest filmmakers, Makhmalbaf’s father, Mohsen. Samira, initially shocked by the desperateness of the story, asked her father why he wrote it. “What else do you expect me to write when I’m living in such difficult political-social conditions in Iran?" he answered. "How can I describe people’s hidden relationships in a seemingly modern but indeed primitive society?" TWO-LEGGED HORSE is a haunting film that feels as intense as that reality, showcasing the filmmaker's delicate eye for detail. Urgent, emotive and evocative filmmaking at its finest, the film's scenario is so infused with dramatic potential that it all but bursts from the screen.

–Shaz Bennett

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira Makhmalbaf was born in Tehran. As an 8-year-old she appeared in THE CYCLIST, directed by her father, Mohsen. She later worked as an assistant director on his film THE SILENCE. Her features THE BLACKBOARD and AT FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON received jury prizes at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 and 2003.

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