Amir Naderi’s The Runner is such a powerful film that it literally screams out for the values that it stands for. It’s a timeless film that is especially relevant today for Iran as well as the rest of the world.
Amiroo is an orphan who is often screaming out to distant ships and airplanes. They excite his young mind and he dreams of travelling to far off lands in them. His life unfortunately is full of hardships. He begins working as a rag picker until one of his friends suggest collecting bottles. Later he sells ice water and eventually becomes a shoe shiner. At every stage of these odd jobs he faces injustice and young Amiroo fights it with all his heart. Life is a constant struggle for Amiroo but he is not a person to give up. He has a conviction that he is born to win. In fact, he enrolls himself in a part time school just because he cannot tolerate the taunts of a magazine seller. He memorizes his lessons shouting against the waves of the sea as if challenging nature itself to stop him. In a poignant finale, Amiroo and his friends compete in a race which is an astounding metaphor for their fight against their own destinies. Amiroo predictably wins this race but he also shares his trophy with others. Amiroo is a symbol for the fight to survive in this world full of injustice and betrayal. He is a model of hope for a largely disillusioned world that desperately needs people like him to put up a fight.