Thursday, March 03, 2005

turtles can fly


I can be one of those cryers at movies. Like not just crying. Weeping, I think is the better fit, my cinderellas. So while I'd been meaning to go watch Hotel Rwanda and get my weep on, it appears my tearducts had other plans, preview of le deluge. Anyhoo, last weekend, watched Turtles Can Fly by an Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi. Set in Kurdistan on the outbreak, if one can call it that, of the war in iraq, the movie focuses almost entirely on children.

The kids' world here isn't anything remotely near frosted cereals or winnie-ther-pooh. They clear land mines for money. I get a papercut or they run out of coffee and it's the end of the world. Among the maimed, the ravaged, the orphans, there is this incredible strength, warmth, humor, pragmatism, anguish. They are children but at the same time they are little adults, which makes their situation all the more heartbreaking -- they shouldn't have to be adults, little or otherwise. Ghobadi's hand appears to stay removed from the film, which doesn't seem manipulated like a chess game with messages that stay tidily in a box. It also includes the most tense scene in a movie I have ever experienced and this heart-breaking girl, Avaz Latif, who portrays the only female character in the film. Clearly a girl, her stature small, her face and eyes sometimes run a million years old. Or at least middle age. Haunting.

If you have a chance to see this movie, go for it. It's worth your money way more than Constantine is. Okay, you can watch Constantine afterwards. Cuz who would we make fun of without Keanu?

trailer (subtitled in french)

AO Scott's review

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