Ghobadi (who was Kiarostami's assistant on The Wind Will Carry Us and played a teacher in Blackboards) was born in Iranian Kurdistan; his debut film is a shattering docu-drama set on the region's mountainous Iran-Iraq border. Young teenager Ayoub, one of five orphaned siblings, tries to support the others by taking an adult job smuggling vehicle tyres into Iraq. In particular, he wants to earn money to pay for an operation which will briefly prolong the life of his retarded brother Madi. His eldest sister tries to help by agreeing to marry an Iraqi Kurd, but the groom's family fail to pay the dowry. As per the title, both men and pack mules swig local moonshine liquor to help them withstand the appalling winter conditions. Unstintingly physical, this must have been as hard to make as it is to be a cross-border smuggler. Completely unsentimental, and so intensely moving.
A Time for Drunken Horses
Cast and crew