EmptyPusan International Film Festival
BUSAN, South Korea -- Kiomars Pourahmad's spare, masculine "Night Bus," taking place during a single night on a dangerous desert road, has a realism that aids in punching home its anti-war sentiments. The film will reach audiences via festivals and DVDs.
During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, 18-year-old Essa (Mehrdad Seddiqiyan) is charged with transporting 38 POWs back to Iran on a rickety bus barely kept functional by a grizzled driver (Khosrow Shakiba'ee). Traveling across an almost surreal desert landscape (beautifully shot in hard black-and-white by Mehdi Ja'fari), calamities befall the vehicle. Eventually, a fellow soldier is blinded by a roadside mortar and Essa is on his own with a busload of hostile prisoners.
It becomes clear that the combatants are more alike than not, and that the prisoners are among the least confrontational ever forced to fight. Essa soon forges an alliance with the charismatic Faruq (Pourahmad favorite Mohammad Reza Forutan) in dealing with one troublesome POW, a potentially hazardous roadblock and completing his mission.
Pourahmad refrains from any serious criticisms of the Iranian state or its previous ayatollahs, but his message of the insanity and inanity of war -- especially when the combatants are so tightly related historically and culturally -- is amply clear.
A Sima Film Center production
Director: Kiomars Pourahmad
Screenwriters: Habib Ahmadzadeh, Kiomars Pourahmad
Producer: Mehdi Homayounfar
Director of photography: Mehdi Ja'fari
Production designer: Ali Morabi
Music: Fardin Khal'atbari
Editors: Bahram Dehghani, Kiomars Pourahmad
Essa: Mehrdad Seddiqiyan
Faruq: Mohammad Reza Forutan
Elnaz Shakerdoust: Kourosh Soleimani
Running time -- 90 minutes
No MPAA rating