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Secret Ballot

2006-03-30 12:07

An unsuspecting soldier awakens to discover that he can forget about another uneventful day at his lonely seaside post. It's Election Day!

A ballot box is parachuted down as a young woman pulls up to the shore of the remote island. To the soldier's surprise, she's actually the government bureaucrat in charge of local voting. The couple gets off to a rocky start since the soldier expects election agents to be men.

Whether he wants to or not, the soldier is thrown into an elections adventure that just may put him out of a job. Orders from above force him to accompany the female agent in an army jeep across the island's dusty desert. The agent literally leaves no stone unturned in her search for ballots. Many a surprise lies along their route, as they find themselves in one absurd situation after another.

So much can happen in a single day, especially when opposites attract. Views can change, hearts can melt. By sunset, a woman's idealistic notions can come back down to earth. And a lonely man can discover there's more to voting by secret ballot than he ever imagined.

What the critics are saying:

"...Secret Ballot becomes less Waiting for Godot and more waiting for the sermon to stop."
- Jamie Russell, BBCi

"Even by the standards of slowness that are perhaps seen as the hallmark of "art"...Secret Ballot (Raye Makhfi) tests the viewer's patience."
- Jonathan Foreman, New York Post

"Perhaps ambiguity is necessary for directors who wish to express themselves in difficult circumstances. At any rate, it here makes for a distinctive, intriguing film."
- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

This deadpan tragi-comedy about an Iranian election day is intriguing, but suffers slightly from excessive slowness and a tendency to preach.

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