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The Cyclist Cover The Cyclist

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Cyclist is a moving portrayal of the human condition and man’s willingness to exploit his fellow human being.

The heart wrenching story, which includes a lot of saddle time, pits Nasim, an impoverished Fagan laborer in post revolution Iran, against formidable odds. Hospital officials refuse to continue treating his wife unless he can pay for her care, which thrusts the itinerate worker into a desperate effort to earn some fast money.

His most recent job digging wells by hand with his son is too slow to save his wife. Therefore, he considers other things such as smuggling and pretending to commit suicide to elicit money from sympathetic onlookers.

When it comes out that Nasim was once a champion three-day bicycle marathoner, a circus promoter hires him to bike around a vacant lot for seven days and nights without stopping. This tough trek becomes a metaphor for life: hard, repetitive, unrelenting.

Rich people bet on whether Nasim will succeed, and promoters make money selling food and trinkets. Meanwhile, the young and old, sick and lame, are bused in to learn a variety of lessons from Nasim’s plight. The film seems to be saying that our lives are dictated by fate and controlled by others, as well as outside forces.

The photography is somber and the music eerie. Nevertheless, this compelling thought-provoking film is worth seeing. It’s not giving away anything to say that The Cyclist is a testament to the resilience of man. Nasim is poor but noble; simple but deep; a loser but a winner. As he bikes through his Stations of the Cross – his cycle of life – he stands for every impoverished, downtrodden or exploited person who feels trapped by life.

Title: The Cyclist
Year Released: 1998
Duration: 95 minutes
Language: Persian
Bike Content: 8/10 wheels

Posted by Greg Borzo on 09/03 at 10:18 PM