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Two young Kurdish refugees, recently arrived in Germany struggle to make their way through the harshness of the occidental city. Their encounter with a gang of Turks will rapidly led them into an inevitable tragical spiral filled with death and revengeWritten by
"Fratricide" is a grimly depressing but utterly compelling tale of a lad who leaves his home in Kurdistan to make a better life for himself in Germany. But the life of an immigrant is never an easy one, and Azad has to face not only prejudice and grinding poverty in his new home, but an older brother who makes his living as a pimp, as well as a couple of Turkish hoodlums who clearly have it out for him (the long-running ethnic rivalry between the Turks and the Kurds serves as an integral part of the story's background). Though street smart and savvy, Azad also has a tender side, as exemplified by his paternalistic devotion to a young orphan named Ibo whom he takes under his wing. Azad also operates within a strict code of moral rectitude, as demonstrated by the fact that he refuses to accept the "tainted" money his brother offers to send back home to their parents. A gruesome and unexpected killing a third of the way through the movie becomes the catalyst for the heartbreaking chain of events that ensues.
Turkish filmmaker Yilmaz Arslan spares us none of the grim realities that people like Azad and Ibo face on a daily basis just trying to keep alive in a challenging and hostile world. Yet, Arslan balances his scenes of tremendous brutality with moments of heart-wrenching tenderness and warmth. The movie never feels forced or contrived as it paints a bitterly realistic portrait of life on the streets for these two young boys. Arslan is helped immeasurably by the superbly naturalistic and wholly believable performances he's been able to draw from his two lead actors, Erdal Celik and Xevat Gectan. In fact, there is nothing less than a superb performance throughout the entire film.
The movie hits on such important themes as nationalism, family loyalty, vengeance, and the truth that violence in the name of honor and ethnic pride only begets more violence, in an ever intensifying and self-perpetuating cycle. Azad is faced with any number of moral dilemmas throughout the course of the film, yet although he tries to break away from the darker side of his upbringing and past, he finds he can never fully free himself from those ethnic rituals of honor and revenge that define who he is.
"Fratricide" is not always an easy movie to watch, but it is an unforgettable experience for those who can take it straight.
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