Friday, June 8, 2012

Random Movie Review: Turtles Can Fly

Turtles Can Fly (2004 Kurdish w/ English Subtitles)
Starring: Soran Ebrahim, Ajil Sabari, Avaz Latif

Wowzers, this was (as the cover notes) a powerful movie. Emotionally moving and gripping throughout the whole thing. This is the type of movie I went to see frequently in my single days living in Toronto, but see less of these days. I am sure happy I caught it, though.

The first film shot in Iraq post-Hussein era, it tells the story of the US invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein. The story, though, is not told through the US soldiers, nor the Iraqi soldiers' eyes, but instead revolves around a kid, Soran (nicknamed Satellite) and his gang of friends who disable and sell landmines. Satellite gained his nickname by helping bring news of the invasion by hooking up satellite dishes. In a town on the Turkish-Iraq border, he and his two right-hand men begin seeing a quiet armless boy and beautiful girl with a young child and becomes intrigued with them. They keep mainly to themselves, because it turns out, the armless boy is clairvoyant and can see the future. After protecting Satellite's group with some information, Satellite is set on befriending the group and appears to have a specific interest in the beautiful girl. When the main story of the war meets the critical point at which typical war movies would have their redemption/victory scene, tragedy falls upon the main group of children.

The story pulls you in quickly as you root for the nerdy Satellite, who reminds me of a lifelong family friend of mine (in appearance, mainly). The beautiful girl character strongly reminds me of a character named philothei from the novel Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernier. Philothei is a beautiful Turkish girl who is quiet and has scattered one-page monologues throughout the story and the main boy falls in love with her in a time of war and things end badly. I was gripped by that character in that novel and this cinematic character as well. As I revisit the plot of that book, I find some eerie similarities between the two. If they ever make a movie of that book, she would be the perfect girl to play that character.

Needless to say this will receive a high rating from me, I will give it an 8.75 and a strong recommendation that you check it out if you get the chance.

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