Man Push Cart (Ramin Bahrani – 2005) A-

Ahmed is a Pakistani immigrant who we watch as he pulls his heavy cart in the busy streets of Manhattan at 3 AM every morning. He is a street vendor who sells coffee, bagels and such to New Yorkers everyday. Many of them seem to like him, they are regulars. He knows what how they take their coffee and if they like cream cheese with their bagel. Very few actually know him. They never ask about his story. Why should they? Ahmed was a rock star at one point in Pakistan, he was married and has a son. He has been a widower for about a year. We see glimpses of his prior life but Bahrani never provides us a full picture of why Ahmed left Pakistan, what happened to his wife and why her parents seem to blame him for her loss. This is not a movie with a plot, it’s a snapshot of Ahmed’s life over a period of a few days and the people he meets. Not everyone (very few actually) manage to realize the fabled American Dream even though we like to think all immigrants come over here, work hard, get rich and buy a house with a white picket fence in the suburbs. Ahmed sure does not.

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