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Secret Ballot
cast: Nassim Abdi, Cyrus Abdi, and Youssef Habashi

writer and director: Babak Payami

101 minutes (U) 2001 widescreen ratio 16:9
Artificial Eye DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
On a distant Iranian island, a soldier (Cyrus Abidi) finds that today will not be any ordinary day. It's Election Day. First of all, a ballot box is parachuted out of the sky. Then the government election official arrives... and it's a woman (Nassim Abdi). He's ordered to accompany her around the island in search of votes...
   Secret Ballot, directed by Italian-based Iranian Babak Payami, is first and foremost a comedy, though one of wry smiles rather than belly laughs. Cast mostly with non-professionals, it contrasts the agent's idealism in the face of obdurate tradition. The film was shot on the island of Kish (a location it shares with the recent film The Day I Became A Woman) and Farzad Jodat's camerawork makes the most of the scenery. Secret Ballot is leisurely in pace, but beguiling.
   Artificial Eye's DVD edition has an anamorphic picture and a Farsi-language Dolby surround mix (the film is an Iranian/Italian co-production, and the credits sequences are in both Italian and Farsi.) Disc extras: a 12-minute making-of documentary, biography of the director, production notes.
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