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Turtles Can Fly (2004)
"Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, War  |  23 February 2005 (France)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 11,883 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 87 user | 92 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

Near the Iraqi-Turkish border on the eve of an American invasion, refugee children like 13-year-old Kak (Ebrahim), gauge and await their fate.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Soran Ebrahim ...
Satellite
Avaz Latif ...
Agrin
Saddam Hossein Feysal ...
Pashow
Hiresh Feysal Rahman ...
Hengov
Abdol Rahman Karim ...
Riga
Ajil Zibari ...
Shirkooh
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Storyline

On the Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border, the boy Satellite is the leader of the kids. He commands them to clear and collect American undetonated minefields in the fields to sell them in the street market and he installs antennae for the villagers. He goes with the local leader to buy a parabolic antenna to learn the news about the eminent American invasion but nobody speaks English and Satellite that knows a couple of words is assigned to translate the Fox News. When the orphans Agrin and her armless brother Hengov and the blind toddler Riga come from Halabcheh to the camp, Satellite falls in an unrequited love for Egrin. But the girl is traumatized by a cruel raid in her home, when her parents were murdered and she was raped. She wants to leave Riga behind and travel with her brother Hengov to another place, but he does not agree with her intention. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and mature thematic material, all involving children | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

23 February 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Turtles Can Fly  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$29,107 (USA) (18 February 2005)

Gross:

$256,822 (USA) (24 June 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film to be made in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. See more »

Quotes

Agrin: teach them math and science!
Satellite: they know math and science. they have to learn how to shoot now!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rhino Season (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Children as the Microcosm of the War on Iraq: An Astonishing Film!
3 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

'Lakposhtha hâm parvaz mikonand' (TURTLES CAN FLY) takes your breath away. Not only is the story by writer/director Bahman Ghobadi timely, it is one of the most devastatingly real examinations of the people of Iraq in the days before the American preemptive attack: it is more real because the entire story is told through the eyes of children.

The action takes place in Kurdistan, Iraq at the Turkish border. The temporary refugee camp in the hills is occupied by children who make money by gathering live mines and used shells from the military conditions under Saddam Hussein's rule. They struggle to make deals for a satellite dish so that they can provide coverage of the war for the elders (they are not allowed to watch Hussein's forbidden channels!), they form rival groups for the monetary aspects of weapons gathering, and they rely on a leader by the name of Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) who appears to be the oldest of the children. His 'associates' are the crippled boy Pashow (Saddam Hossein Feysal) able to run as fast as even Satellite on a bicycle with just one leg and a crutch; Shirkooh (Ajil Zibari) whose tears flow easily; Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) who lost his arms to the land mines and has the ability to foresee the future; and the mysterious Agrin (Avaz Latif) the sole girl who with Hengov is caring for a blind two year orphan Riga (Abdol Rahman Karim).

The children, all orphans, are on the watch for war they know will come, watch and listen for the Americans to arrive, and struggle for survival under Satellite's organized control. Agrin wishes to escape it all, pleads with Hengov to return to their home, but Hengov will not leave the child Riga. As the tension mounts tragedies occur, touching all of the children. But the manner in which the children finally observe as Hussein's statue topples and as the American troops distribute 'hopeful' fliers from helicopters, events bringing an end to their temporary refuge camp status, is heart-wrenchingly portrayed.

The film is full of passion. The young 'actors' are splendid: how Ghobadi found such children to play tough parts in such a wholly naturalistic way is a true feat of genius. This is a powerful, disturbing, yet ultimately beautiful film that deserves everyone's close attention. In Kurdish with English subtitles. Highly recommended! Grady Harp


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