Previously at the ICA - Films

Mohsen Makhmalbaf, The President, 2014

Mohsen Makhmalbaf Focus: The President

21 Aug 2016

"a sweeping tale inspired by the Arab Spring" New York Times

"The President is a striking movie - and a bold and challenging change of directorial pace from Mohsen Makhmalbaf.'" Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

The president (Misha Gomiashvili) of an unnamed country interrupts signing execution warrants to spend time on a game with his grandson (Dachi Orvelashvili). To demonstrate his power, he orders the lights of the city turned on and off – and in plunging his people into darkness inadvertently sparks a rebellion.

The opening scene of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The President combines a spirit of childlike play with an atmosphere of political brutality, a disquieting tone masterfully maintained for the rest of this gripping, starkly inventive film. Forced to flee with his grandson through the country he once ruled, the president shields the young lad from danger with elaborate games of pretence. But the harsh consequences of his regime become obvious as they encounter his former subjects. An international co-production shot in Georgia, Iranian director Makhmalbaf’s drama echoes real-life political events, from the Arab spring and beyond. But above all, this is a work of sorrowful humanity that strikes a lastingly resonant universal chord as a parable of power, dispossession and revenge.

Notes by Ed Lawrenson

The President, dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Georgia/France/UK/Germany 2014, 119 mins

The ICA Cinema is completely ad-free. Please note the feature will start following a selection of trailers and information relevant to the ICA programme. All films are 18+ unless otherwise stated

Please note that a three minute short film will be screened before the first main feature every evening. Part of a rotating selection that changes weekly, the films shown are currently on tour to various arts venues across the country as part of Playback

Enjoy great films for even less with ICA Membership. Every Tuesday, Cinema tickets are just £3 for ICA Members (£6 full price). Learn more about becoming an ICA Member from as little as £10

Sign up to our film newsletter to find out what’s coming up


E.g., 17-12-2017
E.g., 17-12-2017