Secret Ballot is…a demonstration of the fact that society at large has much more integrity than the forces that govern it. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was one of the people who fell for the story that circulated not long after the invasion of Afghanistan that George W. When I finally caught up with Secret Ballot at a film festival last month I decided that this, not Kandahar, was the movie Bush should see.
At the start of Secret Ballot a mysterious object, which we subsequently discover is a ballot box, drops by parachute from a military plane.
Generally Payami uses surrealism much the way he uses a form of realism — as a means of positioning his audience so that we become subjective participants in the action and not merely neutral bystanders.
After the film’s opening sequence the soldier puts the ballot box in a jeep, the agent gets in the back, and they start off through the desert. Payami was born in Tehran, but moved with his family to Afghanistan when he was 7, and returned to Tehran after the 1979 revolution, when he was 15. Part of the agenda of most Hollywood movies is to appeal to as wide a constituency as possible, which makes them mean different and sometimes even antithetical things to different segments of the audience. An aim of the secret ballot was to prevent intimidation and bribery by employers and landlords, made possible by the public voting system.The demand for a secret ballot was one of the six points of the People's Charter. Part of what makes these films Hollywood comedies is their ability to please a wide variety of viewers, not just an art-house crowd. His realism uses not only natural locations and nonprofessional actors, but long shots and extended takes, both of which give the viewer time as well as space for observation and reflection.
He moved to Canada soon afterward, majored in cinema studies at the University of Toronto, then worked as an interpreter, tutor, legal clerk, and software developer.
But it would be shortsighted to assume that neofeudal backwaters of this kind can be found only in Iran or the Middle East, and Payami’s allusion to the Florida elections makes it clear that this movie is about more than Iran.
The 1938 petition stated that 'suffrage, to be exempt from the corruption of the wealthy and the violence of the powerful, must be secret.'Chartism was a political movement of the 1830s set up by working men.


It was sheer wishful thinking, the result of a hope that sympathy for the innocent Afghan victims of the American assault would somehow prevail over all the confusion and self-righteousness. Yes because Iran isn’t entirely a democracy and because Bush would never want to see this movie in a million years. A soldier (Cyrus Ab) enters frame left and retrieves the box, then approaches freestanding bunk beds, wakes a fellow soldier in the lower bunk, and asks him what the box is for. His surrealism tweaks verisimilitude to position his characters in order to make points about them; in one extended gag the first soldier stubbornly obeys a traffic sign in the middle of nowhere that clearly has no reason for being there. Hollywood features commonly get revised by producers before and after test marketing, so one could argue that Payami had more freedom to work out his artistic vision than his Hollywood counterparts — unless he was censoring himself. Yet the soldier’s overall cluelessness about democracy and the people he encounters makes him the butt of more gags than the idealistic agent, though both positions are challenged by the film.
The Chartists campaigned to reform the British electoral system, believing that all men over the age of 21 should have the right to vote. When they sight a man running in the distance he concludes it must be a crook, but she thinks the man’s afraid of the army jeep. Would he identify more with the idealistic election agent, who’s obsessed with the idea of getting every eligible citizen to vote, regardless of whether they know whom they’re voting for or even if the choices are meaningful? When the agent is snubbed after walking into a funeral ceremony that women are expressly forbidden to attend, Payami implicitly asks us to decide which is better, obeying reactionary gender laws or defying them and offending the mourners. They submitted the People's Charter to Parliament in 1837, making six specific demands:Universal suffrage (the right to vote)Voting in British parliamentary elections was restricted to men of a particular class and wealth. As soon as they catch up with the man, the soldier orders him at gunpoint to empty his pockets.
Women could not vote at all.Abolition of property qualifications for members of parliamentPotential members of parliament needed to own property of a particular value. This prevented the vast majority of the population from standing for election.Annual parliamentary electionsA government could retain power as long as there was a majority of support.


While the two men continue to voice their hostility, she shows the man a list of the candidates and asks him to make two choices. Or would he agree with the agent that those gun barrels make democracy relatively meaningless? This made it very difficult to get rid of a bad or unpopular government.Equal RepresentationThe Reform Act (1832) had abolished the worst excesses of 'pocket boroughs'.
A pocket borough was a parliamentary constituency owned by one patron, who controlled voting rights and could nominate the two members who were to represent the borough in parliament.
In some of these constituencies as few as six people could vote for two members of parliament.
There were still great differences between constituencies, particularly in the industrial north where there were relatively few MPs compared to rural areas. Your landlord or employer could see how you were voting and that might influence or intimidate you. Voting was not made secret until 1871.Although the Chartists gathered enormous support in the form of signatures for their petitions, their demands were rejected by Parliament every time they were presented. Although the Chartists failed to achieve aims directly, their influence continued and eventually all but one of their demands became part of British law.There was more to Chartism than the demands set out in the People's Charter.
The Poor Law Amendment Act stopped provision of relief to the able bodied poor and forced those needing help into the workhouse.




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