7.3/10
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9 user 15 critic

The Cyclist (1989)

Bicycleran (original title)
The wife of Nasim, an Afghan immigrant in Iran, is gravely ill. He needs money to pay for her care, but his day labor digging wells does not pay enough. A friend connects Nasim to a two-bit... See full summary »

Director:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mahshid Afsharzadeh Mahshid Afsharzadeh ... Gypsy Woman
Firouz Kiani Firouz Kiani ... Motorcyclist
Samira Makhmalbaf
Mohammad Reza Maleki Mohammad Reza Maleki ... Jomeh
Esmail Soltanian Esmail Soltanian ... Showman
Moharram Zaynalzadeh Moharram Zaynalzadeh ... Nasim
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Storyline

The wife of Nasim, an Afghan immigrant in Iran, is gravely ill. He needs money to pay for her care, but his day labor digging wells does not pay enough. A friend connects Nasim to a two-bit promoter who sells tickets to watch Nasim ride a bicycle continuously for a week. The promoter brings in sick and aged spectators, haranguing them to find hope in Nasim's strength. Aided by his son, who feeds him as he rides, Nasim grinds out the days and shivering nights. Local officials believe this may be a plot and Nasim may be a spy; they try to sabotage him as do those who bet he won't finish the week. Will desperation alone get Nasim the money? Is any triumph an illusion? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

money | immigrant | afghan | iran | bicycle | See All (32) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

sourehcinema

Country:

Iran

Language:

Persian

Release Date:

9 September 1998 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Docharkheh Savar See more »

Filming Locations:

Iran

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bonyad Mostazafan See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

References They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story of poverty, exploitation, and above all, love
16 December 2018 | by deerouzSee all my reviews

Cyclist is a strong movie, and similar to other early works of Makhmalbaf, intertwines several social messages: justice, exploitation of the poor, con men who try to turn every opportunity into gold, and complete disconnection of the rich and the powerful from the world of lower classes. Other reviewers have commented at length about the social justice aspects of this movie. But it seems what most people miss about this movie is that it is, above all, a love story.

Nasim, a former cyclist champion in Afghanistan is now working as a laborer in Iran. His wife is in hospital, and Nasim desperately needs money for her treatment. For that, he agrees to participate in a betting show in which Nasim would have to ride his bicycle for seven days and nights without sleeping.

It is interesting that Nasim as the protagonist, does not have any dialog in the movie. He only speaks with his face, and nothing in the movie is stronger than the pain and love on his face when he is looking at or thinking of his bed-stricken wife. This is the ultimate love story in which the knight goes to absolute extremes to save the woman he loves from death. How many of us can claim to have gone to such lengths for our loved ones?

At the same time, Makhmalbaf also develops a side story of an innocent love starting to take root: the young boy who accompanies Nasim falls in love with the young daughter of a gypsy. Ultimately they are forced to part ways without sharing anything more than an apple, but the strength of those scenes are significant. In this movie Makhmalbaf showed that his true talent was in depiction of love, not social justice announcements.

Nonetheless, given that this was Revolutionary Iran in 80s the social justice aspects of the movie remains strong, and eventually repetitive. In his early movies Makhmalbaf often fell into the habit of repeating his message too many times and too obviously, perhaps to win favors from revolutionary officials. However if we can put aside the social lens and watch the Cyclist as a love story, we may find it a truly emotional and influential movie.


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