The Runner

The Runner

Iran | 1984 | 94 min. | Amir Naderi

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After enrolling in a school, an impoverished boy finds conflict with his classmates and decides to compete to earn their respect. This 1984 film from director Amir Naderi is often cited as the beginning of the post-revolutionary Iranian New Wave and its first masterpiece. New restoration. 

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

Often compared to DeSica’s Shoeshine (and other great works of Italian Neo-Realism), Buñuel’s Los Olvidados, Hector Babenco’s Pixote, and Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Naderi’s 10th feature film – inspired by his own childhood – has been cited as the beginning of the post-revolutionary Iranian New Wave and its first masterpiece.

"A work of astonishing power and simplicity, reminiscent of the finest Italian neo-realist films"—Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"The Runner hovers somewhere between poetry and documentary. Naderi is at his most evocative when he lets the powerful images of this handsome-faced boy speak for themselves. It stays with you.”—Hal Hinson, Washington Post

  • Director: Amir Naderi
  • Principal Cast: Madjid Niroumand, Abbas Nazeri, Musa Torkizadeh
  • Country: Iran
  • Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 94 min.
  • Producer: Alireza Zarrin
  • Screenplay: Amir Naderi, Behrouz Gharibpour
  • Cinematographers: Firouz Malekzadeh
  • Editors: Bahram Beyzaie
  • Language: Persian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Rialto