Man Push Cart – Field Report

I took a few trips to museums and attended some film screenings, but the one I finally chose to write about for my field report was the most recent event I attended, a screening of Ramin Bahrani’s film Man Push Cart at the Dorothy H. Hirshon Film Festival at The New School. I had never seen this film prior to that night and I have to say it is an experience I will never forget.

Man Push Cart tells the story of a Pakistani immigrant, Ahmad’s, daily life of being a street cart vendor in New York City. In Pakistan, Ahmad was a pop star, but now in New York, he is completely unknown and is forced to make ends meet by struggling with his street cart from the early morning until late at night, forced to serve various types of people, including one cretin who winds up “paying” Ahmad to do some housework for him.

 In the introduction to Filmosophy, Daniel Frampton states that film is a distortion of reality and that leaving the movie theater results in a new outlook or “new realisation,” as Frampton puts it (3). Frampton then goes on to say that a film may have to power to enhance our perception of reality. I have to say that in the case of Man Push Cart, I completely agree. Growing up, my dad would often buy drinks and snacks from street carts here in New York. But, now that I live here, I  have never actually bought a thing from a street cart. In fact, the only reason I paid attention to carts on the street was because I am paranoid I will injure myself by walking into one.

Thanks to this film, I now find myself slowing down when I approach a cart and looking through the window and into the face on the other side. Like Frampton says, the way I am now seeing reality has been “refigured” (3).

– Danielle Mantione

Frampton, Dainel. Filmosophy. London: Wallflower Press, 2006. Print.

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