East End Festival: Two-Legged Horse

I went to see the UK premiere of Two-Legged Horse with some trepidation having heard on blogs how difficult it was and how several people at the Toronto Film Festival had walked out. 

The film principally concerns a poor boy (who one suspects also has a slight mental disability aswell as speech impediment) who is charged for a measly $1 a day to carry a wealthier boy and effectively act as his horse (he is referred to as a ‘horse’, ‘donkey’  or ‘beast ‘throughout). As the boy has been maimed in a land mine which also killed mother.

Having watched it I can say that it is one of the mot powerful and thought-provoking films I’ve seen lately and clearly demonstrates the director’s belief that cinema can change mindsets. As she said in response to why she made films:

“I want to reduce human pain through my films. There are things in the world that are harsh. I want to change the world according to my own share. I believe many of these pains are due to the mindset of mankind. We are what we think. Cinema can change thoughts. That is why I am in cinema…”

It’s just a shame that the mindsets it needs to change probably won’t watch or be able to see the film in the first place. For a start the screening though packed was very small for a cinema, while the question of whether it will be able to achieve wider distribution is very doubtful and even if it did it would probably be at very selected cinemas for limited tome periods. Put it this way your probab;ly not going to see it at your local odeon.

Again this is a shame when films like ‘wendy and lucy’ so highly praised (full stars in Time Out) and covering the same subject matter, the degradation of being poor, do get the marketing and distribution. When Two-Legged Horse is to me a far superior film (so much more memorable, the characters are much more engaging and the cinematography is so much better). The story is also,I believe timeless and transcendent helped by the fact that the only reference we get to any middle-eastern war is in the land mime which takes the boys legs. Of course sub-titles are always going to be a barrier but then again this didn’t stop The Class from doing well.

I just hope that someone sees sense and gives this film the marketing and distribution it deserves.

Check out my full review of  Two-Legged Horse on the Little White Lies website.

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