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Sanam (2000)

In a small valley, riders pursue and kill a man. A horse thief, so his assassins claim. But for his ten year old son Issa, the disappearance of his father causes an avalanche of problems. ... See full summary »


Rafi Pitts


Rafi Pitts
6 wins. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Ghorban Ahmadi Galdi Ghorban Ahmadi Galdi ... Delavar
Ismaïl Amani Ismaïl Amani ... Issa
Alireza Amini Alireza Amini ... Horseman 1
Gholam Ali Amini Gholam Ali Amini ... Man on motorcycle
Hassan Amini Hassan Amini ... Young boy
Leila Amini Leila Amini ... Woman on motorcycle
Reza Amiri Reza Amiri ... Horseman 3
Mohammad Reza Fadai Mohammad Reza Fadai ... Old man traveler
Rajab Ali Gharaie Rajab Ali Gharaie ... Neighbour
Gol Mohammad Golmohammadi Gol Mohammad Golmohammadi ... Youssef
Gholamreza Hassanzadeh Gholamreza Hassanzadeh ... Heydar
Hassan Khaleghi Hassan Khaleghi ... Police Officer 2
Khadijeh Khaleghi Khadijeh Khaleghi ... Young woman traveler
Maryam Khansavari Maryam Khansavari ... Zahra
Fatemeh Moussavi Fatemeh Moussavi ... Neighbour


In a small valley, riders pursue and kill a man. A horse thief, so his assassins claim. But for his ten year old son Issa, the disappearance of his father causes an avalanche of problems. With the family name stigmatized, Issa is bullied by the other children in the village. While his mother fights to clear her husbands name, Issa is left to his own devices. But unexpectedly, his solitude gives birth to his freedom, his real passion, horses. Written by Anonymous

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User Reviews

A visual experience.
25 May 2001 | by toclementSee all my reviews

In almost documentary-like style, director Rafi Pitts weaves for the viewer a fable-like story that starts with a young boy (Issa) witnessing his father's death at the hands of horsemen in the rural hills of Iran. Connecting immediately to social ills of Iran, the father's death forces his mother (Sanam) and he to abandon their home and move in with an aunt. There, the two resume a hard life working in the fields.

Sanam is desperate to provide a life and future for her son, but not desperate enough to take the easiest way out - by remarrying. While Sanam is painfully aware of the faults of her son's father, she struggles with Iranian authorities to bring justice to the killers and to seek financial security for herself and her son.

The boy can only feel vengeful about his father's murder. He becomes obsessed with with the horse that he insists belonged to his father, that others insist the father had stolen. The scenes of Issa arguing with the shepherd are priceless.

It's a simple story but the cinematography is brilliant and beautiful and the shots of life in the village are painfully good at capturing the hard life the people are enduring. The cast is solid from top to bottom, but the star of the show is clearly the young boy who plays the role with a maturity rarely seen in a boy of 10 years. His eyes, his face, his skin are all perfectly cast, and in fact the boy was literally found by the director after an exhaustive search in the rural villages of iran. His portrayal was so realistic and believable that it was hard not to feel genuine sympathy for not only the character, but even the actor. If anything, he was almost too real... (9/10)

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Release Date:

2 May 2001 (France) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Stray Cat Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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