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Brian W. Seibert,
Inside a beat up stadium in Kirkuk, Iraq, live many refugees trying to escape Sadam Hussein's administration. Asu lives with his younger brother who has lost his legs from a landmine. Next door lives Hilin, who has not been able to express her feelings. One of the only sources of happiness for these people who live amid fear of poverty and bombings is soccer. Asu gathers together the Kurdish, Arabs and Turkish in order to hold a soccer match. Although they are of different races, they become close neighbors. Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
Iraq still remains an unstable country for its people even after the overthrowing of Hussein's government. But without being noticed by the press, people would never know the following story on news. Mr Korki inherited the neorealism of the acclaimed directors such as Kiarostami, Panahi and Majidi during his time living in Iran and made this powerful second feature film.
The story starts with a delightful scene in a deserted stadium which has become a village for refugees of different ethnicities. A guy is trying to hold a soccer game not only for the wealth of the people but also to encourage his little brother who lost his leg in an terrifyingly common accident.
There's also a girl from the next door who cares for the guy and his family. They have an affection towards to each other, but they both had to hold it back because of the difference of their ethnicity, so the tragic side of the story starts to appeal.
Despite of the well-going of the preparation, they had all sorts of problems coming along. Though the troubles didn't haunt them continuously, there's an inevitable fate coming right at them that they couldn't ever see. Life is just as unpredicted as the outcome of the story to the audience.
Mr Korki bravely made this film under a very difficult situation. and the result is very effective and accessible. The color and the shots were beautifully designed. But besides being a part of the neorealism wave, he put in the metaphors that were greatly used such as the films are seen early on and a horse in the end, and this is how his film appears so unique among the Iranian or Kurdish films that we are familiar with. He's talented for sure, but most of all, his sincerity can be felt every second in the film, and this is simply what a film needs eventually.
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