Nassim Abdi, Cyrus Abidi
In Farsi; widescreen; English, French subtitles; theatrical trailer.
|A gentle satire from Iran. (Now, there's a concept to wrap your brain around.) "Secret Ballot" introduces a dedicated, slightly haughty female election official (Nassim Abdi) who is dispatched to a desolate island, where she has a day to rustle up votes from the sparse, largely ambivalent citizenry. Left on the beach by a government boat, the woman must find, register and assist as many legitimate voters as she can before being picked up and ferried off the island at 5 p.m. If she misses the boat, all the ballots will be rendered invalid. She's accompanied by a mildly annoyed soldier (Cyrus Abidi), and there are the expected conflicts between the idealistic bureaucrat and the slow-moving, by-the-book military man. As they search the island for potential voters, they find the harsh day-to-day realities of rural existence taking precedence over politics and elections. Director Babak Payami evokes good performances from the actors, but the film pokes along a little too slowly from sunrise to sunset and feels that lengthy.|