Winner of the Camera d'Or (Best First Feature) at the Cannes Film Festival, A Time For Drunken Horses announced Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi (Turtles Can Fly, No One Knows About Persian Cats) as a major talent. His debut follows the heart-wrenching drama of a Kurdish family living on the Iran-Iraq border. The only work available in this poverty-stricken locale is to smuggle goods between the countries, through hills stalked by armed bandits.
These dangers rob Ayoub, Amaneh, Rojin, and the developmentally disabled Madi of their parents, and they are forced to fend for themselves. Ayoub is the eldest boy, and he soon begins making the perilous overland journeys himself, desperate to raise money for Madi's life-saving operation. Surviving the snowy valleys and marauding thieves does not bring in enough money, and their uncle sets up an arranged marriage for Rojin, threatening to split up the close-knit siblings.
Haunting performances by the non-professional child actors convey a devastating portrait of Kurdish life on the margins of Iranian society.