Secret Ballot
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This comedy follows a determined female election official (Nassim Abdi) and the grumpy soldier (Cyrus Abidi) assigned to escort her as she tries to collect votes on a remote Iranian island. The soldier, one of two assigned to stand guard on the island, is aghast at the thought of a woman giving him orders, and complains constantly. She is just as stubborn in her determination to wring every vote out of an island inhabited almost entirely by illiterate shepherds and smugglers who would rather that the government not even know that they exist at all. Director Babak Payami's film is an… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A psychic journey deep into the very fabric of Iranian ... life."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"The filmmaker's greatest achievement is that he avoids preaching or taking sides and deftly proves that the weightiest issues can still come tinged with humor and irony."
‑ Janice Page, Boston Globe
"Long, still vistas . . . nicely surreal . . . some hard questions about faith and democracy, law and lawlessness, acting for the common good."
‑ Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"As in practically all Iranian films the cast here is made up of nonprofessionals, and they do themselves a good turn as genuine and marvelously well-conceived characters."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"'...[A] contemplation of the significance, absurdities and/or insignificance of the electoral process...[however] Payami gets his point across long before the film ends, with a message that can't help but hit us over the head...'"
‑ Anita Schmaltz, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
"A comedy that provides serious testament to the arduous, often dreary, always imperfect work of democracy."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"A beguiling, slow-moving parable about the collision of past and present on a remote seacoast in Iran."
‑ Ray Conlogue, Globe and Mail
"The sophistication of the Western democratic machinery seems absurd and its elaborate schemes for representation unreal by comparison."
‑ Moira Sullivan,
"A solid, well-formed satire."
‑ David Cornelius,
"The locations go from stark desert to gorgeous beaches. The story plays out slowly, but the characters are intriguing and realistic."
‑ Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone,
"Beautiful to watch and holds a certain charm."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"There has been much puzzlement among critics about what the election symbolizes. I believe the message is in the messenger: The agent is a woman."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Interessante filme que mostra a realidade política e social no Irã, o autoritarismo com relação às mulheres e as contradições de um país governado pela religiosidade."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Slow, simple, quiet and intriguing. Payami investigates possibilities, and his curiosity carries us along."
‑ Ian Waldron-Mantgani, UK Critic
"A real winner -- smart, funny, subtle, and resonant."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
More reviews for Secret Ballot on Rotten Tomatoes