Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4

Awesome: 12.5%
Worth A Look75%
Just Average: 12.5%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 2 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

Lucky (2017) by Rob Gonsalves

Breadwinner, The by Jay Seaver

Endless, The by Jay Seaver

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed


Secret Ballot
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"Vote early, vote often."
4 stars

I did not understand all of “Secret Ballot,” but I was undoubtedly intrigued by all of it. The film was written and directed by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Babak Payani, and it plays as a low-key absurdist satire of the Iranian voting process. This is something about which I know almost nothing, and yet I found it quite compelling, its political messages universal enough to engage even an Ugly American like myself.

The film takes place on a remote unnamed island, where an election official has come to collect ballots for an unnamed political office. This alone presents some clever situations, as the various residents of the island seem to have no cares for such an election. How will picking two names off a list - many of the voters have never even heard of the candidates - help them in their own private struggles?

The movie’s real subversion comes from the gender of the election agent - a woman. Played by Nassim Abdi, the woman (no character names are ever given) faces a difficult struggle: who, in Iran, will listen to a woman? But her conviction for the election process is so solid that she manages to convince others that voting will indeed result in change.

So here we have a set-up for a double message. The woman’s urging other women to vote without the influence of their husbands reminds us yet again that there are still parts of the world where women are considered second class citizens. Meanwhile, the woman’s firm beliefs in the power of democracy tells us that it’s not the office or the candidate, but the sheer act of voting itself that gives power to the people.

But “Secret Ballot” is not a result of blind faith in democracy. The voters the woman and her stubborn military escort (Cyrus Abidi) meet throughout their election day journey represent the various problems with the system. One family is shocked to learn their candidates are not on the approved list. A man who wants to vote for God feels the merely human candidates have no control over their own fate, much less his. One wife is ineligible to vote, as she’s only twelve years old - old enough to marry, too young to vote.

There are bits here that seem to stretch too far for a satiric meaning (a street light in the middle of nowhere, for example), but for the most part, the film is smart enough for its message to be interesting even to folks who know nothing about Iran. And while Payani’s slow, deliberate style may cause the movie to drag more than it should, the film is still quite engaging. Anyone looking for a solid, well-formed satire will surely find something to enjoy here.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6061&reviewer=392
originally posted: 02/15/07 22:46:01
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/27/03 Anon I'm an Idealist, Get Me Out of Here! Democracy is futile, so I vote myself off this island. 3 stars
8/12/02 Gerard Motola Great Movie! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  09-Aug-2002

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Babak Payami

Written by
  Babak Payami

Cast
  Nassim Abdi
  Cyrus Abidi
  Youssef Habashi
  Farrokh Shojali
  Gholbadar Janghali



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast