Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turtles Can Fly

Bahman Ghobadi, 2004, Iraq-Iran-France (9.7*)
This is an amazing anti-war film which takes place in a Kurdish village on the border of Iraq and Turkey, just as the 2004 invasion of Iraq by the U.S. takes place. The star of the film is charismatic Soran Ebrahim, as a kid called Satellite because he sets up those dishes for remote areas who otherwise would have no tv. He's also the self-appointed leader of about 200 war orphans, organizing them into work details who earn most of their money by disarming land mines and reselling them, and harvesting spent artillery shells from two decades of war in the area for their scrap metal value. Into this village arrives a beautiful young girl (Ajil Sabari), taking care of her armless brother (who does amazing things with his teeth), and a near-blind infant her brother thinks deserves someone's care, who needs an ankle leash to keep him from wandering away.

This film is amazing for the amount of hope shown by the kids, all but ignored by the mostly shepherding adults, and how perseverance and ingenuity can allow survival in the harshest of conditions, amid a chaotic, war-torn environment. The Kurds are the largest ethnic group on earth without their own country or government, and they have been constantly attacked and persecuted by both Turkey and Iraq. This is one of the more memorable anti-war films ever made and should have a much wider audience, as it's been compared to Schindler's List for emotional impact.

All of the child actors were actual refugees, and this is the first film made in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Red Fish, shown throughout the film, are a symbol of the Iranian new year and symbolize life within life. This was Iran's submission for the Best Foreign Film category at the 2004 Oscars, and won 15 international awards out of 19 nominations.

Awards page at IMDB


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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