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The President [DVD]

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Mikheil Gomiashvili, Dachi Orvelashvili, Leo Antadze
  • Directors: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Georgian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Drakes Avenue
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Feb. 2017
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B01M078CRC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,474 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

A brutal dictator comes face to face with the injustices committed by his regime when his country is taken over by revolutionists.

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Set in a non existent country we meet El Presidente, or ‘your Majesty’ as he likes to be called. He is a nasty, self obsessed man who has surrounded himself with the trappings of any self respecting tyrant. His children are spoilt, he out corrupts the most corrupt and most of his fawning subjects hate his twisted guts.

Then the people just crack over his latest outrage and a revolution kicks off; as he has been detached from reality for so long he is unaware quite how bad things are and elects to stay to sort out the kerfuffle. His grandson – a mere boy- also wants to stay with him, and grandpops relents. Soon they are on their own and having to survive by their wits.

Now this is a film made in Georgian and the sub titles could have been better, but it has a momentum right from the start that just grips you and makes you want to go for the ride. The performances are excellent, the action sequences realistic and often brutal. The filth and detritus that we see as the plot unfolds can be quite moving too. Add to all of that a very humanist story and you get a well made, conceived and presented original piece of cinema.

The fact that this is a fictional country means, that it is not penned in by the constraints of history and so is free to concentrate on the human side of the story. This also means that we avoid political dogma and just see what extremism can do to people. Well worth a punt even if you are half curious as I strongly feel you will not be disappointed.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An opening title tells us that 'The President' is set in an 'unknown country'. Perhaps; but it's a familiar one, with eastern European characteristics and ruled over by the titular character, an ageing, brutal, tinpot dictator permanently clad in a military uniform.

Initially satirical in tone, as we watch the flunky-surrounded President commanding the city’s lights to be turned on and off to entertain his mini-me grandson, the film then turns violent as the regime suddenly crumbles; there is vengeful slaughter in the streets, and the revolutionary forces want the dictator’s head. Correctly, director Makhmalbaf doesn’t suggest the insurgents are heroes – they behave as savagely as the regime they’ve overturned.

Escaping towards the coast, disguised in matted wig and ragged clothing, the President – accompanied by his grandson, a boy who has never even had to wipe his own backside – journeys among the wretched people he has oppressed. There is an alarming drift towards sentimentality as, joining some released political prisoners who have been horribly tortured, he seemingly begins to see the error of his ways. It's a false note; tyrants might have hearts, but these will always be made of stone. The presence of his innocent grandson also invites us to empathise with the plight of the two escapees. It’s another misjudgement. We might think that these kind of characters are vaguely absurd relics of a Soviet-backed past, but their likes are all around us: ‘strongmen’ like Putin, Orban, Erdogan and Duterte are dismantling civil liberties and silencing critical voices. The President of the United States, one BAD hombre, is spreading xenophobic lies and adjusting truths to suit his own purposes. Makhmalbaf’s film is absorbing and nuanced, but perhaps too neutral, too simplistic, too gentle; we need to understand tyrants but they should never have our sympathy.
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Fascinating film from start to finishing, a page turner film.
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Absorbing movie
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