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Slideshow

  • Poster by Keiko Kimura
  • Director Amir Naderi
PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE RUNNER

FINAL DAY! MUST END THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17!

12:15   4:20   8:30

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Iran, 1984
Written and directed by Amir Naderi
Starring
 Madjid Niroumand
New restoration. Approx. 94 min.

An illiterate, but resourceful, 11-year-old orphan (Niroumand), living alone in an abandoned tanker in the Iranian port city of Abadan, survives by shining shoes, selling water, and diving for deposit bottles thrown overboard by foreigners, while being bullied by both adults and older kids. But he finds solace by dreaming about departing cargo ships and airplanes and by running…. seemingly to nowhere.

Often compared to De Sica’s SHOESHINE and THE BICYCLE THIEF (and other great works of Italian Neo-Realism), Buñuel’s LOS OLVIDADOS, Héctor Babenco’s PIXOTE, and Truffaut’s THE 400 BLOWS, Naderi’s tenth feature film, inspired by his own childhood, is among the films that first drew the world’s attention to the New Iranian Cinema. THE RUNNER was shown in Venice and London, though not released in the U.S. until 1991, when it opened at Film Forum. The new restoration features brand new subtitles by Maryam Najafi and Bruce Goldstein.

Born in the southern port city of Abadan (the setting of THE RUNNER), Amir Naderi is one of Iranian cinema’s most influential directors and screenwriters. For a Museum of Modern Art retrospective of Naderi’s work in 2018, curator Dave Kehr wrote, “Naderi spent his formative years on the street. A job working in a movie theater led him to discover his true homeland—the cinema—and Naderi has remained a citizen of that refined world ever since, pursuing his passion for filmmaking around the globe with no regard for physical borders or language barriers.”

Born in Tehran, Madjid Niroumand, who plays the central role of the resourceful young street kid Amiro in THE RUNNER, was accidentally discovered by director Amir Naderi when he spotted the boy on the front cover of a sports magazine, in a group photo of a winning track and field team. But it was 11-year-old Madjid who jumped off the cover. In a Eureka moment, Naderi exclaimed, “That’s my Amiro!”

Madjid's performance in THE RUNNER was named #12 in a list of “The 25 Greatest Child Performances in Cinema History” on the film site Taste of Cinema. The Los Angeles Times called it “the greatest performance ever given by a child."

A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

Reviews

“Post-Revolutionary Iran’s first masterpiece and one of the most exhilarating films
in cinema history!”

– Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com
Read the complete review (2022)

“A GEM OF THE IRANIAN NEW WAVE… CRISPLY RESTORED WITH IMPROVED SUBTITLES… Admirably lean and remarkably well-constructed… The light is often dazzling; the array of bottles floating in the harbor is bewitching… Has a subtle fairy tale quality."
— J. Hoberman, The New York Times
Read the complete review (2022)

“A WORK OF ASTONISHING POWER AND SIMPLICITY… REMINISCENT OF THE FINEST
NEO-REALIST FILMS… MADJID NIROUMAND’S PORTRAYAL RANKS
AMONG THE FINEST EVER GIVEN BY A CHILD.”

Los Angeles Times
Read the complete review (1987)

“DELIRIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL…  With its extended poetic montage, sparse dialogue, and haunting, crystalline photography, offers something uniquely powerful.”
– Chris Shields, Screen Slate
Read the complete review (2022)

“A small jewel you must try to see.” 
– Derek Malcolm, The Guardian (UK)

“Reminiscent of Bunuel’s LOS OLVIDADOS and early Pasolini: street urchins eking out a bleak existence on the fringe of a decadent, callous society. But Naderi is after an uplifting message, and shows a keen understanding of children’s camaraderie and determination.”
– Ted Shen, Chicago Reader

“DRENCHED IN A MOOD OF YEARNING LYRICISM. As Amiro gazes longingly into a hazy harbor sunset, the strains of Nat King Cole singing "Around the World" are barely audible. It looks at the world through Amiro's eyes and finds beauty and wonder as well as squalor in Abadan's grimy sunsets…Anchored by the radiant performance of Madjid Niroumand, who plays Amiro without a trace of self-pity.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times 

 

 

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