Makhmalbaf Family Official Website - وبسایت رسمی خانه فیلم مخملباف

The Cyclist

Synopsis:
Noghre, Nasim’s husband-an Afghani emigrant- is suffering from a bad disease, which the treatment needs a lot of money. Nasim hospitalizes him after a lot of begging and insisting so that she could go after the money they need. When a middleman finds out that Nasim was once a cycling champion and that she has the reputation of non-stop cycling during few days in a row, he proposes to her to cycle in one of the squares in the city for one week so that people gather there and he could make money and Nasim could get a wage to be able to pay the hospital expenses for his wife. Nasim accepts it and soon the cycling square turns into a gathering place for all middlemans, wagers and badgers and a total circus is held to fill the pocket of those who are holding the string of others’ fates in their hands. A lot of incidents take place and this emotional story changes into a social crisis. Eventually the one-week cycling of Nasim is over but the middleman takes the money and runs away with a gypsy woman. Great wagers are looking for new plans for betting right now and the reporters are waiting for Nasim’s cycling to come to an end. But he is still cycling and he is not willing to get out of the circle that he has been trapped in and end the game; in a way that it is not obvious if he has accepted the circle of his compulsory fate or if he has turned into a myth.

International Awards: 
  1.  Best Film - Rimini Festival (Italy) 1989.
  2. Best Film - Hawaii Festival (USA) 1991.
     
Director's View: 

When I was ten years old there were rumors that in a basketball field located in Khorasan Sq, in Tehran, a Pakistani cyclist has got onto a bicycle and wants to cycle for 10 constant days for helping the flood victims of Pakistan. In that period that nothing happened this incident was important news. Especially for us kids, whom all wished to have a bicycle. The kids in the neighborhood gathered and we all went to see the cyclist. The ticket was 5 rials and some of us borrowed money from others to enter the coliseum. It was the first and second day of the incident and naturally a few people had come to watch. Individual cycling marathon was not that spectacular, in instance. A tall and thin man, with a black topcoat and a tired face spinning in an endless circle around himself and another man constantly spoke about his charity work for helping his countrymen in a microphone. But between the viewers they were saying that the flood in Pakistan has nothing to do with his business. He had been seen before cycling for the excuse of earthquake in another location, and later I thought that he was an “Armed Cheguara”. 
 
The best part of the program was when he wanted to go to the toilet. He horned twice and the man holding the microphone said two or three sentences about modesty and pudency and at the end he asked us to close our eyes and he solved his problem by using an ewer. And the neighborhood kids took revenge for the 5-rial that they had paid for the ticket by laughing and mocking him. 
 
There was a rumor that at night, when everyone goes home, the cyclist sleeps. This is why the most daring kids of the neighborhood, those who could escape home at midnight, got united to go to see the cyclist in the midnight of the third night. 
 
The door of the coliseum was a bit open and the ticket-seller had gone. We got behind the glasses of the covered basketball field. The man holding the microphone was taking a nap and the cyclist was cycling all alone as if he is doing it for god’s eyes. 
 
I even remember that Farah (queen of Iran) paid a visit to his marathon and gave him a present. After it was proven that the ceremony was true more viewers were attracted to the place. On the fifth day a small Bazaar was formed around the cyclist, who melted in himself every second. You could have bought all the stuff you needed for the house from around the cyclist and be entertained by watching him. 
 
The cyclist resisted until the seventh day and melted more and more every second and the Bazaar around him grew larger and larger each second. On the seventh day, which is a meaningful number, he fell down. We got there when they had already taken him and there were rumors that he had already died before falling down. But the Bazaar was still there and you could still buy anything you needed from there.
 
My neighborhood kids, whom until yesterday did not mind to flat the tire of his bicycle out of mischief, now sustained all their coins to the box for helping the flood victims of Pakistan out of pity. There was one person that borrowed money from all of us for helping them and said that he would pay back as installments until next week. 
 
Later I heard that the same man has repeated this story in other cities. I can even say that sometimes the cyclist is not a special person in some places; it is a class, a society, and a nation. 
 
I really liked to make the story as I wrote it first. I mean when the cyclist apparently succeeded and stopped cycling he could not walk on a straight line anymore. He went towards the mass crowd in the opposite street in circles from this Bazaar and in a place, a little further, when he had finished his work, he died. But what could I do with all those circumstantial advises? Pessimism once again? Be careful that the cyclist should not die! Don’t you want to make The cyclist? Then it is better that you assume that you have never seen him in the Khorasan Sq of Tehran. Why don’t you think more globally? Why are you so obligated towards the time and place?! Anyways wasn’t the man a Pakistani? Okay, what do you think about a ten-day trip to Pakistan?…

Titles: 

Original Title: Bicycle-run
Screenwriter, Set Designer, Editor & Director:  Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Cast:
Moharram Zeinalzadeh
Esmaeel Soltaniyan
Samira Makhmalbaf 
Mahshid Afsharzadeh 
Hossein Haj-jar
Firouz Kiyani
Mohammad-Reza Maleki
Shahnaz Babaieyan
Mansour Farnia
Mohammad Dowlatabadi

 
Director of Photography: Ali-Reza Zarrindast
Script supervisor: Fatemeh Meshkini
Music: Majid Entezami
Make-Up: Abdollah Eskandari
Dubbing: Manouchehr Esmaeeli
1989, color, 83 mins.
 

Festivals: 
  1. The 7th Fajr International Film Festival, Iran 1989.
  2. Riminicinema International Film Festival, Italy 1989.
  3. Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netherlands 1989.
  4. International Film Programme, ”Interfest”, Moscow, Russia 1990.
  5. The 20th Giffoni International Film Festival, Italy 1990.
  6. The 38th San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain 1990.
  7. Freiburg International Film Festival, Sweden 1990.
  8. The 14th Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil 1990.
  9. Iranian filmweek in filmtheatre Desmet, Amsterdam 1990.
  10. Iranian filmweek in Tadzhikistan, USSR 1990.
     
  11. The 5th Calcutta International Film Festival, India 1990.
  12. Brussels International Film Festival, Belgium 1991.
  13. The Festival of Iranian Film at Filmoteca de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 1991.
  14. Madras International Film Festival, India 1991.
  15. The Festival of Iranian Film in Gent, Belgium 1991.
  16. The Festival of Iranian Film in Lovanium, Belgium 1991.
  17. The Festival of Iranian Film in Australian Film Festival, Australia 1991
  18. The 10th Istanbul International Film Festival, Turkey 1991.
  19. The 15th Hong Kong International Film Festival, Hong Kong 1991.
  20. Bruges Derde International Film Festival, Belgium 1991.
     
  21. The Festival of Iranian Films in Vienna, Austria 1991.
  22. The 1st Fukuoka International Film Festival, Japan 1991.
  23. The 36th Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Taiwan 1991.
  24. The 11th Hawaii International Film Festival,USA 1991
  25. The Festival of Iranian Films in NFT / British Film Institute, London, UK 1992.
  26. Screened at the Stavanger’s International Culture Center, Norway 1992.
  27. The 19th International Flanders Film Festival, Belgium 1992.
  28. The 8th Birmingham International Film & Television, 1992.
  29. Iranian Film Festival at Cinema Utopia, “Close-Up of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”, Paris-France 1992. 
  30. The Festival of Iranian Film at The film Center of Chicago, USA 1992.
     
  31. The 21st La Rochelle International Film Festival, France 1993.
  32. The Banco Nacional International Film Festival, Brazil 1993.
  33. The 1st Shanghai International Film Festival, China 1993.
  34. The Festival of Iranian Films in Moscow, Russia 1993.
  35. Asian-Pacific film tour: Best Of Hawaii International Film Festival , USA 1994.
  36. The Festival of Iranian Films in Kazakhstan, 1994.
  37. The Festival of Iranian Films in Kirgizestan, 1994.
  38. The Festival of Iranian Films in Armenia, 1994.
  39. The Festival of Iranian Films in London’s NFT, UK 1994.
  40. The Festival of Iranian Films in Filmoteca of Mexico, 1994.
     
  41. The Festival of Iranian Films in St. Petersburg, Russia 1994
  42. The Festival of Iranian Films in Cineteca of Mexico, 1994.
  43. The Festival of Iranian Films in Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1994.
  44. The Festival of Iranian Films in Puebla, Mexico, 1994.
  45. The Festival of Iranian Films in the Asian Film Center of Colombo, Sri Lanka 1994.
  46. The Festival of Iranian Films in Freetown, Sierra Leone 1995.
  47. The Festival of Iranian Films in Zagreb, Croatia 1995.
  48. Annoany International Film Festival, France 1995.
  49. The Festival of Iranian Films in Cinematheque of Venezuela, 1995.
  50. The 8th Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore 1995.
     
  51. The 19th Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil 1995.
  52. Namioka International Film Festival, Japan 1995.
  53. The 36th Thesaloniki International Film Festival, Greece 1995.
  54. The Festival of Iranian Films in Prague, Czech Republic 1995.
  55. The Festival of Iranian Films in France, 1996.
  56. The Festival of Iranian Films in Bihac, Bosnia 1996.
  57. The Festival of Iranian Films in Sarajevo, Bosnia 1996.
  58. The 31st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic 1996.
  59. The 14th Turin International Festival of young Cinema, Italy 1996.
  60. The Festival of Iranian Films in Japan 1996.
     
  61. New Delhi International Film Festival, India 1997.
  62. The Festival of Iranian Films at The Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto, Canada 1997.
  63. The Festival of Iranian Films at Montreal Conservatoire, Canada 1997.
  64. The Festival of Iranian Films at The Pacific Cinematheque, Vancouver, Canada 1997.
  65. The Festival of Iranian Film at The Cinematheque of Ottawa, Canada 1997.
  66. The Festival of Iranian Films at The Northwest Film Center, Portland, USA 1997.
  67. The Festival of Iranian Films at The Film Center of Chicago, USA 1997.
  68. The Festival of Iranian Film at The Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA 1997.
  69. Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, USA 1997.
  70. Museum of Modern Art of New York, USA 1997.
     
  71. Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, USA 1997.
  72. The Festival of Iranian Films at The UCLA Film Archive, USA 1997.
    “A Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  73. The Festival of Iranian Films at Cleveland Cinematheque, Canada 1997.
    “A Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  74. Festival of Film From The South, Copenhagen, Denmark 1997.
  75. A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Sweden 1998.
  76. The 14th Calcutta International Film Festival, India 1998.
  77. The Festival of Iranian Films at The Royal Film Archive, Brussels, Belgium 1999.
  78. The Festival of Iranian Films in Vienna, Austria 1999.
  79. The Festival of Iranian Films at Slovenian Film Museum, Slovenia 1999.
  80. The Festival of Iranian Films in Belgrade, 2000.
     
  81. The Festival of Iranian Films in Lebanon, 2000.
  82. The Festival of Iranian Films in Leipzig, 2000
    “ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  83. The Festival of Iranian Films in Bangladesh, 2000.
    “ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  84. The Festival of Iranian Films in India, 2000.
    “ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  85. The Festival of Iranian Films in New Delhi, 2001.
    “ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  86. The Festival of Iranian Films in St. Petersburg, 2001.
    “ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  87. Calcutta Film Festival, India 2001.
  88. Moscow Film Festival, Russia 2001.
    “ Retrospective of Makhmalbaf film House”
  89. A retrospective of "Mohsen Makhmalbaf”in Madras,Banglore,Viji Vada,Haydarabad , India 2001
  90. Dhaka International Film Festival, Bangladesh 2002. 
    “A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
  91. Fajr Film Festival,Iran 2002.