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Amiro, a 13-year old war orphan, is fighting for survival in an Iranian port. He searches scrapyards for things to sell, collects empty bottles and sells iced water. What little he earns he spends on old magazines with aircraft on the cover. He can only look at them and dream, for he has never learned to read. It becomes increasingly clear that his life will only change if he learns to read and write. The Runner was the first Iranian film to be seen abroad after the Islamic revolution, and shows with remarkable candour the old opposites of rich and poor in the new Islamic state.