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Spirng 2011
March 14

Turtles Can Fly - still shots from the filmTurtles Can Fly
(Lakposhtha håm parvaz mikonand)

Iraq/Iran/France 2004, 98 min, drama
Writer/Director: Bahman Ghobadi Kurdish with English subtitles

Turtles Can Fly is a heart wrenching and acutely poignant look at the effects of war on children. Filled with amazingly good performances from a very young and non-professional cast, this is a devastatingly sad tale of human resourcefulness, resilience, compassion, and cruelty.

Set in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border (what used to be Kurdistan), the film focuses on three orphans who disarm land mines for resale to arms dealers. The year is 2003 and it is the eve of the American-led invasion. The film is essentially a slice of life for these children who’s childhood has long passed, forced into independence by the ravages of war. We observe the self-sufficiency and camaradery between these dismissed members of society. However, where there is darkness, there is light and Turtles Can Fly is not with out its moments of humor.

Written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi, a Kurd himself, this film is clearly derived from first hand experiences and observations.

Turtles Can Fly has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics the world over (Roger Ebert wishes everyone to see it). The raw authenticity of its scenes leaves one shaken but enlightened. Ghobadi has a special talent for working with untrained actors, as seen in a number of his other films.

This film is beyond political, it doesn’t come with a left or right agenda; it looks at the real lives of innocent victims affected by our sometimes out of control modern world. Turtles Can Fly is a film that will stay with you for years to come.


»  'Turtles Can Fly' soars with dark humor, haunting humanity, review by Ty Burr, Boston Globe. (with trailer).

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