Secret Ballot - 2001

Directed by Babak Payami

The story of election day on a remote Iranian island as seen though the eyes of an idealistic election agent and the reluctant soldier assigned to guard her.

Color, 1 hour 45 minutes, Farsi

Original Title: Ra-ye Maghfi

Watch Trailer (English), Watch Scene (Farsi w/English subtitles)

Star Rating


Firouzan Rank # 23

Cast


Nassim Abidi  
Cyrus Abidi  
Youssef Habashi  
Farrokh Shoja  
Gholbahar Janghali  

Crew


Writer Babak Payami
Director Babak Payami
Producer Marco Muller
Babak Payami
Director of Photography Farzad Djodat
Sound Recordist Yadollah Najafi
Production Designer Mandana Massoudi
Editor Babak Karimi
Sound Mixer Michael Billingsley
Music Michael Galasso

Pictures


The ballot box is dropped by parachute onto the island.

The ballot box is dropped by parachute onto the island.

The changing of the guard.

The changing of the guard.

Unhappy about his new assignment, the soldier begrudgingly watches the arrival of the election agent.

Unhappy about his new assignment, the soldier begrudgingly watches the arrival of the election agent.

The agent quickly puts the soldier in his place when he protests that the elction agent should be a man.

The agent quickly puts the soldier in his place when he protests that the election agent should be a man.

The differing viewpoints that the two hold in regards to the importance of voting are easily apparent.

The differing viewpoints that the two hold in regards to the importance of voting are easily apparent.

The soldier, accustomed to dealing with smugglers, is a little overbearing and intimidates the voters.

The soldier, accustomed to dealing with smugglers, is a little overbearing and intimidates the voters.

A group of eager voters is disappointed to find that their chosen candidates have not made it through the vetting process to the approved list.

A group of eager voters is disappointed to find that their chosen candidates have not made it through the vetting process to the approved list.

The agent has difficulty getting this peculiar man to pick candidates as he repeatedly claims that 'my candidate is God.'

The agent has difficulty getting this peculiar man to pick candidates as he repeatedly claims that "my candidate is God."

The soldier insists on waiting through the red light despite the fact that they are the only car on the road for miles.

The soldier insists on waiting through the red light despite the fact that his car is the only car on the road for miles.

One final vote to cast.

One final vote to cast.

DVD


Secret Ballot DVD Case

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External Reviews


By Dave Kehr The New York Times

A lighthearted, whimsical comedy about the blossoming of democracy in Iran must necessarily be either incredibly calculating or incredibly naive. But "Secret Ballot," a new Iranian feature from Babak Payami (whose "One More Day" made the festival rounds a couple of years ago), is never clearly one or the other.

After seeing it twice, I'm still not sure whether the film is a canny piece of propaganda on behalf of the Iranian theocracy and the token democratic reforms that the mullahs have permitted, or if it is a work of stunningly sunny optimism that honestly believes genuine democracy is on its way to that beleaguered country. Continued

By Edwin Jahiel Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

Alerting all movie connoisseurs! The second feature by Babak Payami renews my hopes that behind the huge, depressing army of commercial movies there is, worldwide, a platoon of intelligent, original, chances-taking, creative people for whom cinema is an art and not a Godzilla of low I.Q. productions aimed at the masses that in Russian are called "nyekulturny" (uncultured.)

In recent and no-so-recent times, Iranian cinema has turned out a force to contend with -- in fact a darling of solidly informed publics as well as professional critics the world over. Mr. Payami was born in Tehran in 1966, spent much of his youth in Canada, studied cinema theory and history -- not filmmaking -- at the University (Toronto), returned to Iran in 1998. Continued

By David Lipfert Offoffoff.com

One end of Kish Island lures middle-class Iranians to buy tax-free microwaves and CD players; the other barely shows signs of the 20th century -- that's where director Babak Payami sets "Secret Ballot," his modern fable of elections and voters.

The glistening sea and sandy beach seem ripe for an ancient myth to come to life or an Angelopoulos allegory to begin. Instead this is a modern tale of an election commission envoy determined to corral every last adult to cast a ballot. Even on this Persian Gulf island where oil tankers and smugglers might outnumber fishermen eking out a living, it's election day. In preparation, a ballot box has been parachuted onto Kish at dawn soon followed by the voting supervisor from Iranian mainland headquarters. Continued



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