Without family or a home to shelter him, nine year old Amiro (played by Majid Niroomand) is an iconic character against the changing landscape of the Southern Iran, which has become new ground for military and foreign interest. Through Amiro's eyes , Naderi depicts scenes of the poverty in the junk yards as the poor fight over trash, the abuse of women being led like animals behind their husbands, or the demoralization of a man who steals from Amiro by not paying for a glass of ice water. The old Iran is crumbling, while Amiro, the child hero, rejects all of it as he "runs" metaphorically to survive. Naderi photographs Amiro like Tom Sawyer on his journey down The Mississippi, a child joining the changing society of the Persian Gulf. Amiro intuitively knows the oil ships, the planes and the trains are the new Iran and he shouts emphatically "take me along!". Naderi seemly stacks scenes of the boy feeding himself, washing his own clothes, and building a business as a shoeshine boy for the foreigners and navel officers. He gives the boy very little but his own guts, self-reliance and determination, which help him find a way to fit in among the foreigners. He wants to be included, he wants to go where the planes go, the boats go, the trains go. He cries into the waves his own language. He wants to prove that he is worthy of this new world. The final scene is a slow motion tribute to Amiro's determination and survival. He races in a competition against the other boys for the block of ice near the oil fields. The telephoto lens captures Amiro's joy against the violent flames of the fires burning off the gases of the oil wells. Through this lens, Amiro survives and shares his joy of winning the race with the other boys like him. The Runner is a symbolic and hopeful look at what Iran has become, a place where orphans like Amiro are able to make their own way to prove their worthiness, loyalty, intelligence, and strength.
After enrolling in a school, an impoverished boy finds conflict with his classmates and decides to compete to earn their respect.
March 20, 2020