2014, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Satire/Dark Comedy
LENGTH: 115 min
GENRE: Satire / Dark Comedy
LANGUAGE: Georgian w/ English subtitles
FORMATS: DCP, Blu-ray & DVD
DIRECTOR: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
CAST: Misha Gorniashvili, Dachi Orvelashvili, Guja Burduli, Ia Sukhitashvili, Zura Begalishvili, Lasha Ramishvili, Soso Khvedelidze
CREW: PRODUCER: Maysam Makhmalbaf, Mike Downey, Sam Taylor, Vladimir Katcharava; SCREENWRITER: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Marziyeh Meshkiny; CINEMATAGRAPHER: Konstantin Mindia Esadze; CO-PRODUCER: Mathieu Robinet, Rudolph Herzog, Henning Brümmer; EDITOR: Hana Makhmalbaf, Marziyeh Meshkiny; MUSIC: Christian Siddell
The President tells the story of a dictator who is forced to personally confront the many people tortured by his regime after his government is overthrown.
The President and his family rule the land with a draconian fist, enjoying a privileged and luxurious existence at the expense of his miserable and oppressed subjects. After a coup d’état uproots his position of power, the President’s wife and daughters are flown out of the country as he stays behind with his grandson, who is too young to grasp the unfolding events. After his personal escort and bodyguards turn on him, he is forced to disguise himself and flee into the countryside to avoid capture. He soon learns that he is now the country’s most wanted fugitive and begins a perilous journey with his grandson, his only ally. Posing as street musicians, the pair blend in with a band of haggard political prisoners just released from jail released from jail as they travel towards the coast to an awaiting ship that will take them to safety.
By Peter Bradshaw
“Perhaps even Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s most devoted admirers weren’t expecting his latest film – here opening the Festival’s Orrizonti sidebar section – to be quite so absorbing and gripping. But that’s what it is, and the director discloses a unsuspected gift for satire and suspense, along with some old-fashioned storytelling gusto.”
By Cath Clarke
“Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf has cranked up the voltage from his trademark stately style in this newsworthy drama.”
In the course of the Arab spring several dictatorships of the region collapsed (Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gheddafi), but more than 40 are still in power worldwide. But even in those countries that seemed to take a step forward towards Democracy we have witnessed a great deal of violence, before and after the collapse of the old regimes. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more have been injured or become refugees.
As the result of all this violence, the road to Democracy after dictatorship appears more and more difficult for these countries. How can these nations possibly reach Democracy and recover from these terrible conflicts?
Following the collapse of any dictator, king or president – the violence used to against them by the people will result in new violence later on. The new ruling party, having witnessed this, will not want to relinquish power, as they are frightened of meeting the same violent end. Therefore they resort to every possible means to hang on to their power, even killing people of their own Community if necessary.
The President is a modern fable about power, reconciliation, and the hope for breaking a never-ending circle of violence, exploring the possibility of stopping violence after a revolution in search of Freedom and Democracy.
-Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Director
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