A Time for Drunken Horses
dir. Bahman Ghobadi
Opens Fri Oct 27 at the Uptown.

A TIME FOR Drunken Horses is a carefully understated little melodrama about the bleak lives of children in Kurdistan, a chance to see into a world otherwise unknown, or at best mysterious to us--handsomely photographed, with a great soundtrack. And yet I know that most American moviegoers won't watch a foreign movie that ends on only the faintest note of hope, with no singing violins, no jeweled sunset.

So I imagine selling it to my beloved nephew Mikey, who is 13.

BARLEY: It's an adventure story set in another... galaxy. There's a family of children. Their mother is dead and their father is away. They survive by smuggling contraband. There are fights and ambushes.

MIKEY: Who's in it?

No people who are stars yet, but remember when we spotted Jim Carrey before anybody else did? We said he was weird, but people would create parts for him? This movie has somebody like that, Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini.

What kind of name is that?

It's--it's Kurdish. That's the language the people on this planet speak. They show you on the screen what they're saying.

You mean subtitles?

Well, yes.

I hate subtitles.

Oh Mikey, Mikey, you know what the Sicilians say, "Sleep with a woman 20 times before you decide not to marry her."

"Drunken horses"? Is it funny?

Are you kidding? It's very serious, for mature audiences only. Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini has a horrible disease. His brothers and sisters have to get him an operation, and he's going to die anyway. The main brother who does the smuggling is about your age.

Do they have spaceships?

No, they're so backward in this galaxy they only have mules. Like, remember when we rented Quest for Fire?

Yeah, everybody said there were breasts, but it was all mud and stuff. Is there sex?

Not rolling-around sex. But it has sexual slavery in it. Which, by the way, you needn't mention to your parents unless they ask you.


See? Putty in my hands. Would that I had such power over everyone.

Barley Blair is the pseudonym of a little old lady who is not above inventing salty Sicilian sayings for a good cause.