The President (15)

Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Picturehouse, Liverpool
22nd September 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The main problem with watching this film, directed by noted Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, was the complete lack of empathy I had in any shape or form with the two main characters. One was a deposed tyrannical president of an unnamed country (Georgian actor Misha Gomiashvilli), along with his spoilt brat of a grandson (Dachi Orvelashvilli).

An ludicrous ending added to my displeasure with the movie.

Certain serious points were portrayed, notably the anguish suffered by refugees fleeing conflict, but this was offset by too many mawkish scenes involving the kid, notably when recalling his time at the president's palace, strutting around in a military uniform, before the people overthrew the thuggish and dictatorial president and his henchmen.

He fled from the uprising, disguised as a nomadic musician with a guitar - he resembled Robert Plant as he looks now - along with his doe-eyed grandson.

Probably for the first time in his life the former military dictator sees at first hand the effects his reign has had on the long-suffering people.

The highlight scene was when the two of them, amidst cornfields, pretended to be scarecrows when a train carrying armed soldiers sped past them.

Apparently Makhmalbaf was inspired, in the making of this film, by the uprisings in the former Soviet bloc and, perhaps more close to home, the Arab Spring. But he barely touches upon the upheaval of those two earth-shattering events.

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