Man Push Cart, the story of the Sisyphean struggles faced by a Pakistani immigrant living in New York, is arriving a year late to the Wisconsin Film Festival. Originally planned to hit the screens in Madison last year, it was delayed for scheduling purposes.
Indeed, this film directed by Ramin Bahrani has made its way up a long slope over the last year, thanks in large part to Roger Ebert. This American sage of cinema saw Man Push Cart on the last day of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and emerged from the screening as a forceful advocate.
Here is the official Wisconsin Film Festival description of the 87 minute drama:
Man Push Cart distills what can make independent cinema so vigorous: taking the time to chronicle the uncertainties of life. As described by Roger Ebert, who featured this film in his Overlooked Film Festival: "Man Push Cart was filmed in Manhattan by an American born in Iran and an American born in Pakistan, and embodies the very soul of Italian neo-realism. Free of contrived melodrama and phony suspense, it ennobles the hard work by which its hero earns his daily bread? many customers call him by his first name although they would never think to ask his last one." Ahmad is a hard-working Pakistani, just trying to make ends meet. Relationships evolve between Ahmad and Noemi, a Spanish woman running a newsstand nearby, and Mohammad, a fellow Pakistani who hires Ahmad to do a little side-work for cash. Filmed over three weeks, mostly during the dark hours just before dawn, Man Push Cart is a luminous portrait of isolation and hope in post-9/11 New York.
Marking its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2005, Man Push Cart has since screened at fests around the world, winning the FIPRESCI International Critics award at the 2005 London Film Festival, the New American Cinema award, and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards this year. A trailer for the film follows below.