A perpetually hungry underdog becomes an accidental hero in "Have You Another Apple?," an absurdist allegory set in a timeless, nameless desert state ruled by the repressive "sickle bearers."

A perpetually hungry underdog becomes an accidental hero in “Have You Another Apple?,” an absurdist allegory set in a timeless, nameless desert state ruled by the repressive “sickle bearers.” Helmer Bayram Fazli, the cinematographer responsible for the surrealist visuals of “Letters in the Wind” and “Bitter Dream,” takes Iranian cinema even further from post-revolutionary neorealism in his debut feature. Creating a colorful dystopic universe that recalls “The Road Warrior,” he draws on traditional Persian folk character Hassan Kachal (Hassan the Bald) to make comic points about dictators and passive populations. Fests should devour this audacious tale.

While fleeing ruthless soldiers who chase him on horseback, fleet-footed protag (Zabih Afshar) takes refuge in a village where the inhabitants avoid confrontation by pretending they’re asleep. He meets a comely maiden (Leila Mousavi), whom he later rescues. She travels with him to a second village whose residents are constantly fighting among themselves. A third village tries to repel invaders through constant begging. While the pic probably has more meaning to Persian auds for whom the nameless characters are familiar types, it can be universally appreciated as an action-adventure yarn. Tech package is tasty.

Have You Another Apple?

Iran

Production

International sales: Life Media Intl., Tehran. Produced by Hamid Reza Ashtianipur. Directed, written by Bayram Fazli.

Crew

Camera (color), Fazli; editor, Ebrahim Saeedi; music, Alireza Baba-Qorban; art directors, costume designers, Fazli, Mahtab Moteasseb. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Oct. 11, 2007. In Reykjavik, Brooklyn, Tokyo Filmex, Stockholm, Venice film festivals. Original title: Baaz ham sib daari? Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Zabih Afshar, Leila Mousavi, Ali Yaqobi, Ahmad Reza Akbari, Maryam Bubani, Ahmad Naqade.
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