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
The trauma of war has been an issue much covered in cinema, but in this film, we are shown the impact that it has on those who are most innocent of all the children. The orphaned children are a range of interesting characters presented to us here, from Satellite, a sharp TV programmer to Pashow, an armless but still doggedly determined boy. The supporting children are shown as bright eyed watchers of war, eagerly awaiting it so that they can try their hand at the missiles, which, at first sounds amusing, but then escalates into something much more horrific, and we follow their misadventures through grainy camera-work, improvised dialogue and flashbacks.
The performances delivered by the children are nothing short of astounding. In the lead, Soran Ebrahim is in parts a mixture of caprice, zest and energy, and it is he who grasps our heart and makes for the first, slightly more light-hearted part of the film. In a completely different role, Avaz Latif is the film's heartbreak, and the one that endures the worst. Her performance is wordless, but she manages to portray all her deepest emotions through a look or gesture. When we delve deeper into the plot to realise exactly how much her character has suffered, it is then that the horror of war kicks in.
Turtles Can Fly is not one for the easily depressed. Truth be told, after watching it, I was still in tears for several minutes, utterly helpless and wishing that something could be done about the constant loss of innocence. Its message is blatant, and though a bleak one, presented in a harsh, disturbing war, makes a welcome change from all the Left, Right and Centre propaganda given to us in the Media. Turtles is a film that speaks for itself; no advertising needed.
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