Man Push Cart
Every night while the city sleeps, Ahmad, a former Pakistani rock star turned immigrant, drags his heavy cart along the streets of New York. And every morning, he sells coffee and donuts to a city he cannot call his own. One day, however,the pattern of this harsh existence is broken by a glimmer of hope for a better life.
Solid faux-neorealist indie. Also: this is forever doomed to be retroactively known as 'the SUGARMAN movie.'
My friend Sriram told me over a year ago that I need to see Ramin Bahrani’s MAN PUSH CART. The story of a Pakistan man in New York City who owns a food cart is simply told. It’s a very bare bones film. But, it’s excellently made. It focuses on a community that is almost completely ignored by Hollywood, and does so in a totally interesting and engaging way. For that, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Slice of life about an internally troubled former Pakistani rock-star living on the breadline in New York city. Doesn't really go anywhere, a bit depressing, but sticks with you.
New York, you ignorant slut. B
This movie is actually beautifully detailed character study. The pace is incredibly measured, but it never feels slow. It’s also very depressing, but it never feels in love with its own sadness, just… well, realistic. I’ve had several opportunities to see this film over the last seven years, I wish I had watched it sooner.
Bahrani was introduced to the greater film world at the 2005 Venice Film Festival with Man Push Cart. The film tells the story of a former Pakistani rock star, Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi), who relies on the sales of coffee and bagels from his pushcart to survive in Manhattan. True to the neorealist roots, Bahrani chronicles the life of a person that is seen but not heard in most metropolitan settings. A story of the forgotten man, something that saw a surge during the Depression era, is timeless due to its reality. The film establishes Bahrani as a talent however, it hits the occasional speed bump.
In an attempt to make the film feel authentic, a clear and intriguing plot is…
Man Push Cart’s plot is slender, Ahmad is a hard working Pakistani immigrant in New York who serves coffee to Manhattanites from a push cart during the day, and bootleg porn DVDs in the evening. He meets an affluent fellow Pakistani who takes him under his wing, and a Spanish girl who works in a newsstand. However the relationships soon come under strain and gradually fall apart.
It’s the myth of Sisyphus retold for the modern age, showing how one can become a prisoner in one’s own life. If that sounds depressing… well it is, deal with it! The film is beautifully shot in a neo-realist style, lots of long lenses and captured events. I was gob smacked to learn that the lead actor had no acting experience whatsoever, being an actual pushcart vendor the director befriended, as his performance is fantastic.
Refreshing to see an American indie not about privileged white people and their affairs.