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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, beautiful, and deeply affecting, 21 Feb. 2007
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This review is from: Man Push Cart [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a beautifully shot and emotionally powerful film. It is a film that deserved to be made to make us all aware of the invisible people of large cities all over the world. The film is almost like a documentary of the drudgery of Ahmads' life. You long for him to escape his sadness and the monotony of his existence. At times this film is almost too much to bear and leaves you with little hope for Ahmad, whose former life really remains a mystery. This film left me with a raw feeling inside and will stay with me. I defy anyone to be left unmoved.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The myth of Sisyphus, 4 Feb. 2010
Boudu (North Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man Push Cart [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
A naturalistic film with echoes of `The Bicycle Thieves', 'Man Push Cart' is the story of a man who has even the very little he possesses (his son, coffee stall, brief glimpses of happiness) taken away from him. It is the story of Ahmad and his struggle to survive in New York after a personal tragedy & loss. The sparse, well-written screenplay reveals information as the story unfolds.

We discover that Ahmad was a famous musician in Pakistan, but is now forced to earn his living serving coffee to New Yorkers. The coffee stall becomes Ahmad's small enclosed world from which we view the urban landscape of New York through his eyes.

Possibilities such as the resumption of his music career (he begins to listen to his old tapes again and even attempt new songs) & the tentative relationship with a young girl, Noemi, from Barcelona offer brief glimmers of hope before these are extinguished and Ahmad is let down.

In the final Act, the director makes you, the viewer, endure Ahmad's desperation as he even loses the very little that he possessed. It is a story about perseverance, endurance and perhaps ends on a small note of hope in that Ahmad pushes a cart together with another man, Altaf.

I thought `Man Push Cart', an honest, truthful film which will not to be for all tastes (coffee tastes bitter, no saccharine-sugar in this film). Yes, not a lot `happens' in terms of plot, but it happens in particular to one man; it is essentially a character study about a man who must struggle against his fate & emotional circumstances. The lead actor plays his role excellently, especially when one considers he is not a professional actor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... outstanding immigrant character study (and New York portrait), 17 Jan. 2014
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man Push Cart [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
I was browsing my local library the other day for a good film to watch and stumbled upon this. I took a quick glance at the premise of the film, which sounded intriguing enough for me, so I picked it up. So glad I did.

"Man Push Cart" (2005 release; 87 min.) brings the story of Ahmed, a Pakistani immigrant who sells coffee and breakfast from a push cart on the busy streets of Manhattan. As the film opens, we see Ahmed getting ready at a very early hour for another long, hard day of selling breakfast. We see his regulars stopping by, and then also a new guy who immediately surmises that Ahmed is Pakistani, as he himself is also from Lahore, Pakistan. Even though the men are at very different ends of the economic (and social) spectrum, they start hanging out some, and eventually the man recognizes Ahmed from his days in Pakistan when Ahmed was a very successful rock singer ("the Bono of Pakistan!", the man comments). In a parallel story, we get a peek into Ahmed's family situation, and he also befriends Noemi, an immigrant from Barcelona working at a nearby newsstand. To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, as I started watching this, it wasn't clear to me whether this was a documentary or a fiction film, that's how authentic this feels. It was actually a relief when I realized that it is fiction, as one cannot help but feel sorry for Ahmed's circumstances in life in general. Second, the film plays out in Manhattan mostly, but also in Brooklyn and Queens, and as such the city of New York plays a huge role in the overall feel of the movie, with a rather harsh look (somehow reminiscent of "Taxi Driver"). Third, kudos to writer-director Ramin Bahrani for bringing us this slice of life, taking his time to developing the various characters and plot lines. This film is definitely not for anyone in a hurry. Lastly, shouldn't the film's title be "Man Pull Cart"? I mean, Ahmed actually never "pushes" the cart, but always pulls it.

Bottom line: if you are in the mood for a character study that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, you cannot go wrong with this. "Man Push Cart" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, simple, beautifully made film., 28 Aug. 2011
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man Push Cart [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Slight, simple, but genuinely moving, and astoundingly beautiful
visually for a ultra low budget film shot in 3 weeks on the streets of
New York.

A Pakistani immigrant tries to make a living selling bagels and coffee
from a little stand he pushes around and dreams of buying.

That's really the whole story.

But subtly, fragment by fragment, we get glimpses into his life, his
back-story, etc. It's life in bits and pieces adding up to a greater,
much more powerful whole than the sum of it's parts would suggest.

A lovely complex look at the kind of un-glamorous character we too
rarely see in films.

A side note; if you are at all impressed by director Bahrani's work, I'd
strongly suggest you search out his wonderful short film "Plastic Bag"
which is viewable on YouTube, and other sites on the web (a quick Google
will find it). He teamed up with the great Werner Herzog (who narrates) to
tell the first person story of the life of an unwanted plastic bag in a film
that is visually beautiful, very funny, and very sad. One of the best,
non-preachy films on ecology I've ever seen, it feels like this generation's
answer to the classic short "The Red Balloon"
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