Once an employee of Iran's Ministry of the Interior, Mir Qanbar is now a 74-year-old retiree who has dedicated himself to winning an elected position in his country's government, be it the presidency or merely a seat in Parliament. Despite a profound lack of success (he has been disqualified from several presidential elections for not having enough votes, and gets infinitesimal support in parliamentary elections), Mir Qanbar and his faithful friend Seifollah campaign tirelessly, traveling from village to village, handing out flyers and talking with farmers, shepherds, and assorted passers-by.
In President Mir Qanbar, director Mohammad Shirvani documents the tail end of one of his subject's endless campaigns for Parliament. Though his film is by no means reverential, it nevertheless lends Mir Qanbar a rugged sort of dignity. He comes across not as a Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, but instead as a quiet, determined man who has given considerable thought to the policies he would introduce, and works extremely hard to reach his unattainable goal. Because of how poor and sparsely populated Mir Qanbar's district is, he and Seifollah are forced to visit many villages every day, traveling between them along deserted dirt roads by cart and bicycle. Any doubts about the seriousness of the campaign are erased as Shirvani watches the two men -- Seifollah seemingly untroubled by his considerable physical handicaps -- ford streams, wander through fields, and climb steep hills, bicycle in hand in pursuit of voters.