Turtles Can Fly

Rated NR 2005

No filmmaker working today better exemplifies the great humanist tradition of Italian Neo-Realism than the gifted Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, whose movies -- A Time for Drunken Horses, Marooned in Iraq, and now Turtles Can Fly -- deal with the plight of the Kurdish people, especially its children. Painful to watch and impossible to forget, these films do more than simply tell stories; they bear witness. Turtles Can Fly focuses on a group of children, many of them orphaned, who live in a small rural village, in the weeks leading up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Their leader, a precocious teenager nicknamed "Satellite," becomes smitten with a young refugee who shows up one day with her armless older brother and a young blind child. Wide, steady camera shots and extraordinary performances from the non-professional cast give the film a documentary feel. That it showcases the Kurdish people's remarkable resiliency and vitality, as well as their boundless pain and suffering, is the only thing that makes this film bearable.

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