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Turtles Can Fly (2004)
04. Jan 2005 at 09:50
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A cut and paste of a review that was posted by apple on the Boys On You Screen forum:

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Innocence offers us all a lesson in how to live

By Nigel Andrews - financial times.

Published: December 30 2004 02:00

Death does not stop for life. Cruelty does not take vacations. And that nature is no respecter of holidaymakers we know from events in the Indian Ocean. So it is both chastening and cheering that 2005 should begin with Turtles Can Fly (opening in the UK next week), a Kurdish film that is like a well-meant slap in the face. You resent it at first.

Then you realise that it has awakened sensations that were drowsy with misuse and is telling us not to fall asleep, morally or emotionally, in a constantly endangered world.

We might have forgotten, amid the champagne and crackers and bird carcasses, that 2004 saw the wages of military adventurism suffering epic inflation. On any normal planet Iraq's invaders would long ago have been flung into the moral bankruptcy jails. But, to cite another Ghobadi title, we live in "a time for drunken horses". The western world's leading nation is pulled by an electorate stumbling, weaving and in all senses staggering in its obtuseness, a population boozed not on alcohol but on the fatuity of political commentary in the US. It takes no W.B. Yeats but only a few days exposed to the country's television to recognise the passionate intensity of the worst and the pusillanimous uselessness of the best in the American media.

Turtles Can Fly is set in brink-of-war Iraqi Kurdistan, in a village clubbing together to acquire a satellite dish. For them television is just a lifeline to the facts, not a propaganda resource. They just want to be told when hostilities have started. They are too busy de-mining the hills to be brainwashed by al-Jazeera, hogwashed by Fox News or spinwashed by on-air politicians of any provenance. And "they", for Ghobadi, are mostly children: the frontline of desperate innocence, ready to fight the weaponised sophistry of the west.

There are the armless boy and his traumatised sister, already veterans of older wars. There is the hustling, indefatigable "Satellite", a Muslim Milo Minderbinder in the making, trading everything from TV dishes to food and rifles. And there are the smaller children still, so used to the terra infirma of daily life that roaring aircraft and exploding hillsides are just things that happen between waking and sleeping.

Ghobadi knows that war is the most surreal drama of all. Every reality is topsy-turvy. Every new juxtaposition is by Hieronymus Bosch out of the Chapman brothers. Here a severed limb, there a fridge in a tree. The giant arm from Saddam's toppled statue suddenly appears in the village, a talisman goggled over by all and more enthralling than TV. But the most surreal touch of all may be the film's opening credit, "an Iran-Iraqi joint project". Rub your eyes; it really does say that. And the credit shows, more than anything else, that we have moved from one aeon to another, though for these serial victims of military adventure one aeon probably feels much like the last.

photos from the production:

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« Last Edit: 07. Jul 2008 at 05:50 by Zabladowski »  
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josephk
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Re: Turtles can fly
Reply #1 - 04. Jan 2005 at 10:12
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I seem to be the only living person who didn't like this movie. There's also a positive critique in the latest issue of CinemaScope, a magazine I read religiously and treat as the bible of serious film criticism. This is one of the rare cases where I disagree with them.
  
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