Two-Legged Horse

Film - Feature | October 20 | 5:30-7:10 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

“If you are here to watch a soft and poetic film, don’t waste your time,” Samira Makhmalbaf warns of her infamous third feature, which shares the child-centered focus of other Iranian films but unexpectedly delivers one of cinema’s harshest, most nihilistic condemnations of the darkness at the heart of human nature. Swarms of children emerge from abandoned sewage pipes (their homes), drawn by a strange job offer: a rich man wants a strong boy to carry his legless son, to function as a “two-legged horse.” What follows is an unforgiving Boschian portrait of hell on earth and hell in man, of exploitation, corruption, and emotional and physical warfare: hard to watch, impossible to forget, and with no comfort or way out offered to offended viewers. “Two-Legged Horse is a nightmare,” Makhmalbaf states plainly, “the essence of what I could express of my times. . . . The feeling resulting from seeing the film is one of pressure. A pressure that crumples one into a box. A pressure that results in a human turning into an animal.”

 CA,, 5106420808