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Davandeh AKA The Runner (1984) FotW #314

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Cocoa
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Davandeh AKA The Runner (1984) FotW #314

#1

Post by Cocoa » January 5th, 2020, 8:13 pm

Film of the Week #314: Davandeh AKA The Runner (1984)

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Summary:
After enrolling in a school, an impoverished boy finds conflict with his classmates and decides to compete to earn their respect.

#805 on 1000<400, with 132 checks.
Nominated by Cocoa, joachimt, Minkin, and xianjiro.
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From the 1000<400 resultsShow
#805(⇧265, #1070) Davandeh (1984)
[The Runner]

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Directed by: Amir Naderi
(189.04 Pts, 5 Votes) , Top 1–10–50: 0–1–1
History: 8051070168928884484NA←NA
ICheckMovies: 128 Checks , 18 Favourites , 3 Official lists
List of Voters:Show
Nathan Treadway (5)
Leopardi (51)
3eyes (NA)
cinewest (140)
Cinephage (279)

Here is a schedule of all the FotW.

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#2

Post by Nathan Treadway » January 5th, 2020, 8:35 pm

(l)

I'm curious to see how this thread winds up. This was a strong contender from me to use in the World Cup for the first round, and was still in the running for round 2, although I doubt I'll go with it.

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#3

Post by joachimt » January 11th, 2020, 11:18 am

First hour took a bit too long, but it got a lot better in the last 30 minutes. Great final scene.
8/10
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Cocoa
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#4

Post by Cocoa » January 11th, 2020, 11:42 pm

Me watching this film: I expected more running.
The film a few seconds later: The kid starts running.
Me: :o

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#5

Post by xianjiro » January 12th, 2020, 10:36 am

Easily 8 out of 10. Good, even if it may be impossible to find a quality print. My suspicion is most are taken from VHS, so that can make it more difficult to judge. Also there is the issue of hardcoded, white subs from the late 80s or early 90s: at least they are legible all but a couple of moments (but if one sets one's monitor very bright, the subs might bleed into the background). But these aren't really the issues of the film.

I did notice a few technical problems. In one scene the camera pans but doesn't really take into account the change in the light so the scene starts to wash out. Doubt this is related to the print (or rip). But such technical problems, don't detract from the film: it just really looks its age and place.

Don't believe the story is meant to be taken literally, so one wonders what is the artistic meaning. For me, the boy represents the Islamic Republic (this was made a short five years after the revolution and given the credit "Studio of the Voice and Portrait of the Islamic Revolution of Iran" there are two likely interpretations that come from this and they aren't mutually exclusive. First off, one must use what one has, no matter how meager, and work hard, constantly improving, not by leaps and bounds, but in small increments. (The boy starts by collecting and selling garbage that still has value, moves on to bottles, then sells water, builds a shoeshine kit, enrolls in a literacy class.) It's pretty clear, one doesn't get everything one wants right now and this message varies radically from what we so often see in Western productions.

But the second message is a bit less obvious and for me is strongly symbolized by the interaction with the blond sailor who accuses the boy of stealing his lighter. Throughout the film the boy (Iran) stands up to those bigger, faster, and stronger than himself and while others accuse him of theft and steal from him, he only demands what is rightfully his: you drank my cold water, pay me. Seems fair.

Iranian cinema, like that from the Chinese mainland of the 80s and 90s, is much more allegorical. When I can find some meaning, I find it quite interesting, artistic, and enjoyable. Same goes for this film. It may not be technically stunning but it certainly is emotionally and intellectually compelling.

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