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Man Push Cart

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Original title
Man Push Cart
Running time
87 min.
United States United States
Ramin Bahrani
Peyman Yazdanian
Michael Simmonds
Noruz Films, Flip Side Film
Drama | Independent Film (US). Immigration
Synopsis / Plot
The life of a former Pakistani rock star who now sells coffee from his push cart on the streets of Manhattan. MAN PUSH CART tells the story of Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi) a former Pakistani rock singer who ekes out a living selling coffee and donuts to morning commuters from his push cart in Midtown Manhattan. Ahmad supplements his income by selling bootleg porn DVDs, carefully saving his money to afford a place where he might be able to live with his estranged young son.

It is a harsh, often humiliating life, but Ahmad carries on with a stoic dignity and sensitivity, seemingly determined to find his way. Then the dull routine of his life is brightened by two developments: the arrival of a young Spanish woman (Leticia Dolera) working down the street in a newspaper kiosk; and an offer of assistance from a wealthy fellow Pakistani (Charles Daniel Sandoval), who remembers Ahmad's former life as a rock star.

While Ahmad strives to pursue these two new possibilities at a better life, the film returns regularly to the act of him setting up his cart in the early morning darkness: his preparations for opening, the other immigrants who prepare the city in middle of the night, his exchanges with his customers as they buy coffee, tea and bagels from him. This gives MAN PUSH CART a deliberate rhythm as it explores the complex and hidden depths of the character, who we learn is desperately hanging on to his small dreams in the midst of grief and despair. The denouement of the film is utterly heartrending, yet inevitable. Ahmad's momentary glimpse of an escape from a circumscribed world closes down again and he has to pick himself up and focus on the same things he started with.

Beautifully observed, MAN PUSH CART is a subtle and technically accomplished film, wholly original in subject, location and characters. It is a haunting and insightful feature that gives a revealing picture of a rarely depicted community in the Big Apple and is highlighted by strong central performances and stunning photography.
2006: Independent Spirit Awards: 3 Nominations including Best First Feature
2006: Gotham Awards: Nominated for Breakthrough Director Award
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