Two-Legged Horse

(Asbe du-pa)

Imported 35mm Print

  • Introduction

    Hossein Khosrowjah is a senior adjunct professor at California College of the Arts in the Visual Studies Department. His book, The Singular Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami, will be published later this year.


Ziya Mirza Mohamed, Harod Ahad, Gol Gotai Karimi, Khojeh Nader,

“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.”

Jason Sanders
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Farzad Jodat
  • Farsi
  • Uzbek
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 101 mins
  • Wild Bunch