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.
“Turtles Can Fly” is a remarkable 2004 film directed by Bahman Ghobadi. Set in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border just before the US invasion of Iraq, the film captures the heartbreaking realities of war through the eyes of children. It is a poignant and thought-provoking drama that explores themes of survival, hope, and the indomitable spirit of humanity.
The movie revolves around a young boy named Satellite (Soran Ebrahim), who is known for his resourcefulness and ability to set up satellite dishes for the villagers, providing them with access to news and information from the outside world. Satellite, along with his sister Pashow (Avaz Latif), encounters other children who have been affected by the ongoing conflict, including an armless boy called Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) and an orphan girl named Agrin (Avaz Latif). As they navigate through the harsh realities of war, their lives become intertwined, and their struggles become a reflection of the larger issues faced by the Kurdish people.
One of the strengths of “Turtles Can Fly” lies in its depiction of the resilience and courage of the child protagonists. Despite living in a war-torn region and being surrounded by violence and tragedy, they display a remarkable ability to find joy and hope in the most challenging circumstances. The performances by the young actors, particularly Soran Ebrahim, are exceptionally powerful and authentic, adding a layer of authenticity to the film.
Ghobadi’s direction is masterful, capturing both the beauty and devastation of the landscape. The film’s cinematography is stunning, showcasing the stark contrast between the serene countryside and the harsh realities of war. The use of long shots and wide angles helps to convey the vastness of the conflict and the isolation of the characters. The director’s attention to detail and ability to create a palpable sense of tension and unease throughout the film further enhances its impact.
In addition to its compelling storytelling and impressive visuals, “Turtles Can Fly” also serves as a social commentary on the impact of war on innocent civilians, particularly children. It sheds light on the harsh realities faced by those living in conflict zones and highlights the resilience and strength of individuals in the face of adversity. The film doesn’t shy away from showing the brutal consequences of war but also offers glimpses of compassion, humanity, and the power of small acts of kindness.
Overall, “Turtles Can Fly” is a powerful and emotionally charged film that offers a unique perspective on the human cost of war. It is a beautifully crafted work that combines stunning cinematography, compelling performances, and a thought-provoking narrative. By focusing on the experiences of children, the film forces viewers to confront the devastating impact of war on the most vulnerable members of society. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in thought-provoking cinema that tackles important social issues.