Saturday, September 11, 2004

Turtles Can Fly

Using maimed or missing limbs on children as a metaphor for the impotence of the Iraqi people is a good give-away that you are not in for a happy film. It is also probably impossible to make a film set in Iraq in the past year and not have it political in some way. This film nonetheless manages to have hints of humour and hope meshed into the story of children looking after their own. The main character, nicknamed Satellite is a 13 year old technology whiz in a land where 30 antennas are desperatly held up by the towns people to try to get a TV signal for news of the impending war in March 2003. Satellite is brimming with self-confidence and competence and has a small armada of refugee children collecting live mines on a Iraq/Turkey border town and selling them back to whoever will buy them. His little entrepreneurship gets threatened when an impetuous armless kid, his attractive sister and the 2 year old kid they are looking after are not falling into the business plan. Satellite also develops a budding attraction to the girl who has issues of guilt, loss and suffering that nobody of her age should have to deal with (a theme which runs througout the picture in ways which defy audience expectation). Satellite puts his faith in technology and business and thus, his hope lies in the USA. By the end of the film when Americans finally come, too many things have happened for him to really be happy. The film is dark, but lyrical and sophisticated. There is a tense scene around a landmine which worked more effectively than most thrillers ever get (I was literally on the edge of my seat), but the film seems made with the intent to anger, frustrate and haunt the viewer. It works effectively at this aim. Certain images are sure to linger.


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