Saturday, July 26, 2008

Turtles can fly

Turtles can fly was the first Kurdish movie released since Saddam Hussein's fall. The movie is set in a Kurdish refugee camp next to the Iraqi-Turkey border a few weeks before the current. This was a very good film, that I recommend everyone watch, particularly the people who are for the war. The film primarily tells about the life in the village, it is not really an anti-war movie so much as a slice of life. It is not anti or pro the war, the characters in the film look forward to the fall of Saddam Hussein, war is just another part of life for these people.

Conditions in the refuge camp are very poor. The people are lacking in water, electricity and have no schools. They live in tents and the remains of buildings. The border between Iraq and Turkey is divided by barbed wire, dogs, and guard towers. A large number of the villagers are missing appendages. The orphan kids make money by collecting land mines to sell to a guy, who in turn sells the to the UN.

The movie follows three characters in particular. A 13 year old boy nicknamed Satellite because he installs satellites in various towns. Satellite is practically the leader of the village because of his ability to install satellites, speaks some English, and he organized and orders around the large number of orphans in gathering land mines. There are some elders in the village but they differ to Satellite because of his abilities. At one point when Satellite does not want to translate the news for them they steal his bike. He threatens to leave and they cave in quickly. The next two characters the movie follows are a pretty girl named Agrin, whom Satellite likes, and her armless brother Hyenkov who is somewhat clairvoyant. They are orphans as well, their parents were killed by the Iraqi's. They travel with a little child who at first we think to be her brother, but later learn that he is her son. Henkov loves the little boy, Risa, but Agrin hates him because of how her was conceived (Iraqi's raped her). I figure I told enough but do not expect a happy ending when you watch this. The plight of the Kurdish people is sad both in the movie and in real life.

The acting in this film was wonderful. This is not surprising when you take into account the actors are actual Kurdish refuges.

Some links:
-International Movie Database on the movie:Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand Has a preview and some of the comments on the film as well as discussions on the message board are interesting.
-Washington Post article: Who are the Kurds?. This gives a brief overview about the Kurds and I feel that if you do not know about the Kurds you should take a few minutes to read this article.
-Wikipedia article on Kurdish people. Wikipedia's more detailed than the previous link.

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