Synopsis:In Babak Payami's wry satire, an unsuspecting soldier awakens to discover that he can forget about another uneventful day at his remote Iranian island outpost. To rent Secret Ballot (aka Raye makhfi) just jointhe Cinema Paradiso DVD rental and Blu-ray Rental service today and get a Free DVD rental trial. Cinema Paradiso and all other Cinema Paradiso product and service names are trademarks of Pace-e-Solutions Limited or its affiliates. The story of election day on a remote Iranian island as seen though the eyes of an idealistic election agent and the reluctant soldier assigned to guard her.
Unhappy about his new assignment, the soldier begrudgingly watches the arrival of the election agent. The agent quickly puts the soldier in his place when he protests that the election agent should be a man. The differing viewpoints that the two hold in regards to the importance of voting are easily apparent.
The soldier, accustomed to dealing with smugglers, is a little overbearing and intimidates the voters.
A group of eager voters is disappointed to find that their chosen candidates have not made it through the vetting process to the approved list. The soldier insists on waiting through the red light despite the fact that his car is the only car on the road for miles.


A lighthearted, whimsical comedy about the blossoming of democracy in Iran must necessarily be either incredibly calculating or incredibly naive. After seeing it twice, I'm still not sure whether the film is a canny piece of propaganda on behalf of the Iranian theocracy and the token democratic reforms that the mullahs have permitted, or if it is a work of stunningly sunny optimism that honestly believes genuine democracy is on its way to that beleaguered country. In recent and no-so-recent times, Iranian cinema has turned out a force to contend with -- in fact a darling of solidly informed publics as well as professional critics the world over.
The glistening sea and sandy beach seem ripe for an ancient myth to come to life or an Angelopoulos allegory to begin.
We assume that voting by secret ballot is an essential and fundamentalprinciple of representative democracy, but the social history of the secret ballothas rarely been investigated, until now. The second feature by Babak Payami renews my hopes that behind the huge, depressing army of commercial movies there is, worldwide, a platoon of intelligent, original, chances-taking, creative people for whom cinema is an art and not a Godzilla of low I.Q. Instead this is a modern tale of an election commission envoy determined to corral every last adult to cast a ballot. A ballot box is parachuted down as a young woman pulls up to the shore, who turns out to be the government election official, much to the surprise of the soldier who was expecting a man. Payami was born in Tehran in 1966, spent much of his youth in Canada, studied cinema theory and history -- not filmmaking -- at the University (Toronto), returned to Iran in 1998. Even on this Persian Gulf island where oil tankers and smugglers might outnumber fishermen eking out a living, it's election day.


While it may indeed offer opportunities for broaderpolitical participation, its introduction has sometimes limited the electorate, excluding certain groups, even precipitating violence. When he is ordered to accompany the idealistic young bureaucrat across the dusty desert in search of votes - a hunt that literally leaves no stone unturned - the soldier is thrown into an electoral adventure that may just put him out of a job. In preparation, a ballot box has been parachuted onto Kish at dawn soon followed by the voting supervisor from Iranian mainland headquarters. This original andthought-provoking volume questions the universality of the supposed link betweenvoting secrecy and individual political freedom. Case studies from around the worldand various historical eras combine anthropology, political theory, and socialhistory to good effect. The result is an innovative analysis of the cultural historyof the West's democratic norms and their imposition on other societies.



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