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Koch Lober releases Ramin Bahrani’s Man Push Cart today on DVD ($26.98). A festival darling this past year, Bahrani’s look at Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi), a Pakistani rock star who moves to America with his family only to work a push cart in Manhattan, is a stirring insight into the sacrifices many immigrants go through to make a living in this country.

A simple story, Bahrani uses natural lighting, sparse dialogue and a haunting score to follow Ahmad’s depressing life as he wakes at three in the morning to push a tin box to his reserved midtown corner to serve donuts and coffee to commuters. But when he’s done for the day, work isn’t over, as he walks the streets peddling porno’s in one hand while holding the propane tank to his cart in the other — his own ball and chain. When a fellow Pakistani recognizes Ahmad as the rock star from his pervious life he offers to help him get his career started in America, leaving Ahmad hopeful that he can still provide the life he promised his family (though his wife died and his son lives with relatives that don’t want Ahmad in his life).

A gritty indie film done with care and respect, the film made many top ten lists last year and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards (though that may be overlooked instead by the film’s unfortunate inclusion in Sarah Silverman’s monologue at last year’s Spirits: “Man Push Cart. Who Gives Shit?”). And for those who only know Bahrani’s latest feature, Chop Shop (which played at Cannes and most recently Toronto), this is a great way to look back at a film which highlights an emerging director and a gripping performance from Razvi.

DVD includes commentary from Bahrani, Razvi, d.p. Michael Simmonds and AD Nicholas Elliott along with a few shorts by Bahrani.


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