Two-Legged Horse 2008
Asbe du-pa (original title)
1h 41min | Drama | 6 May 2009 (France)
A father who has a young son with one leg and no other household members must go to India for some weeks. He hires another boy for a dollar a day to carry the son around on his back, to the school or to whatever whims may occur to the son. Actually the son is so skilled in jumping at really great speed, that he does not need any help or any “horse”. The son’s whims include not only verbal and physical abuse, but also repeated “horse fights” where “the horse” will continually be knocked down. Even “the horse’s” tender feelings for a child girl beggar are exploited and mocked. Because of the brutal and degrading treatment “the horse” will become more and more similar to a real horse.
Samira Makhmalbaf, the young Iranian film maker and daughter of renowned Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, said in an introduction to this movie that she wants to show some images that really do exist but which people would prefer to look away and pretend they don’t exist. To this aim she has certainly succeeded. Two Legged Horse makes for very uncomfortable viewing. The “story” is very simple: an old Afghan man hires a young Afghan boy at $1 a day to transport (horseback style) his crippled son around. The crippled boy’s sadistic treatment of his “human horse” and the latter’s total submission and slow metamorphosis into a horse are the counter points holding the film together. As usual with all Makhmalbaf films there are some haunting visual images.
Two Legged Horse conjures up Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Bicyclerun and Mehrjui’s The Cow. One can not use the term “entertaining” for this film but it is certainly challenging and ultimately rewarding, if you can stay the course.
Director: Samira Makhmalbaf
Writer: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Stars: Ziya Mirza Mohamad, Haron Ahad, Gol-Ghotai
Country: Iran | France
Language: Persian | Uzbek
Release Date: 6 May 2009 (France)
Also Known As: Dvounohý kun
Filming Locations: Afghanistan