A reader writes in praise of Bahman Ghobadi's A Time for Drunken Horses
18 October 2000
I'm writing to second David Walsh's praise of Bahman Ghobadi's film A Time for Drunken Horses. In a fortunate coincidence, the day I saw this film was also the day I first came across these lines of Walter Benjamin:
“The class struggle, which is always present to a historian influenced by Marx, is a fight for the crude and material things without which no refined and spiritual things could exist. Nevertheless, it is not in the form of the spoils which fall to the victor that the latter make their presence felt in the class struggle. They manifest themselves in this struggle as courage, humour, cunning, and fortitude. They have retroactive force and will constantly call in question every victory, past and present, of the rulers” (from the Theses on the Philosophy of History, trans. Harry Zohn).
Courage, humour, cunning, fortitude: sharply portrayed in this film! I found the ending especially beautiful. No victory scene, just a sudden, brief moment of clarity, as Ayoub catches his breath at the bright top of the arbitrary hill that bears the border.