Turtles Can Fly PG-13

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(64) IMDb 8/10
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In this haunting film, Kurdish children organize to clear minefields for trade on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq. This drama was the official Iranian entry for the 2004 Academy Awards. From IFC Films.

Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif
1 hour 38 minutes

Turtles Can Fly

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, International
Director Bahman Ghobadi
Starring Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif
Supporting actors Saddam Hossein Feysal, Hiresh Feysal Rahman, Abdol Rahman Karim, Ajil Zibari
Studio IFC Film
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

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If you love politics, and/or you want a movie that will make you cry, this one is it.
In the days preceding the Iraq War, a charismatic boy commands the respect and loyalty of a ragtag group of orphaned children who dig up unexploded mines for pay.
This is a powerful, disturbing, yet ultimately beautiful film that deserves everyone's close attention.
Grady Harp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
'Lakposhtha h‚m parvaz mikonand' (TURTLES CAN FLY) takes your breath away. Not only is the story by writer/director Bahman Ghobadi timely, it is one of the most devastatingly real examinations of the people of Iraq in the days before the American preemptive attack: it is more real because the entire story is told through the eyes of children.

The action takes place in Kurdistan, Iraq at the Turkish border. The temporary refugee camp in the hills is occupied by children who make money by gathering live mines and used shells from the military conditions under Saddam Hussein's rule. They struggle to make deals for a satellite dish so that they can provide coverage of the war for the elders (they are not allowed to watch Hussein's forbidden channels!), they form rival groups for the monetary aspects of weapons gathering, and they rely on a leader by the name of Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) who appears to be the oldest of the children. His 'associates' are the crippled boy Pashow (Saddam Hossein Feysal) able to run as fast as even Satellite on a bicycle with just one leg and a crutch; Shirkooh (Ajil Zibari) whose tears flow easily; Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) who lost his arms to the land mines and has the ability to foresee the future; and the mysterious Agrin (Avaz Latif) the sole girl who with Hengov is caring for a blind two year orphan Riga (Abdol Rahman Karim).

The children, all orphans, are on the watch for war they know will come, watch and listen for the Americans to arrive, and struggle for survival under Satellite's organized control. Agrin wishes to escape it all, pleads with Hengov to return to their home, but Hengov will not leave the child Riga. As the tension mounts tragedies occur, touching all of the children.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Chapulina R on May 19, 2005
On the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, Kurdish refugees wait with hope and trepidation. Hope, because they have suffered so much under Saddam, trepidation because their liberation promises little improvement. Thirteen year old "Satellite", so called for his expertise installing satellite dishes, is the boss of the refugee children. Most are orphans, many are crippled by the mines which they dig up to sell to the U.N. Life is very hard and uncertain; for sport, the boldest boys taunt the Turkish soldiers manning the border posts. Satellite genuinely cares for his "kids", but has a rivalry with the "Armless Boy," a newcomer to the camp and seemingly a psychic. However, he finds the Armless Boy's pretty sister intriguing. The girl, Agrin, is aloof and haunted by horrific memories, and is not interested in Satellite. Eventually, the US forces arrive. There is no anti-American sentiment in this film, but neither are the Americans portrayed as heroic liberators. In fact, they seem oblivious to the Kurds. The images of the tanks rumbling through the villages, the grim-faced, armed soldiers jogging past the ragged, barefoot urchins are almost surreal. The refugees' hectic life continues uninterrupted by their presence. Agrin's personal drama culminates in the horror foreshadowed at the film's start. "Turtles Can Fly" has its moments of humor but it is not a feel-good film, and the fates of the characters will leave you disturbed. I recommend this film because it is a timely portrayal of current events and an intimate look into a mostly unknown culture. The joint Iraqi-Iranian film features English subtitles.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 29, 2005
Turtles Can Fly was a joint Iraq- Iran production. The language spoken is Kurdish, but it has English subtitles.

The film is set in Iraqi Kurdistan, primarily in a refugee town near the Turkish border. The story follows a boy in his early teens, Satellite, so named for his ability to set up satellite dishes, a much-wanted commoditiy in Iraq preceding the US invasion. Satellite is always wanted in the local villages; he has authority even with the elders, and is a father figure to the children (many of them orphans) and finds them work, mostly digging up mines and selling them to the UN.

At the beginning of the movie, Satellite mets Agrin, a pretty but deeply troubled girl. She is accompanied by her brother, who lost both of his arms to a land mine but has the mysterious ability to see into the future. Also with them is a toddler, whose relationship to Agrin and her brother is not revealed until later.

Agrin's brother, known as the 'armless boy' has been having a series of disturbing premonitions; the war is coming closer and closer. Satellite works frantically to prepare the regugee camp for the invasion. He also attempts to befriend Agrin, and in the course of the movie we discover disturbing and troubling things about this strange family's haunted past.

Turtles Can Fly does not, as some expected, portray the United States in a negative light. However, it makes a very clear statement that our self-appointed position as liberators is skewed and false. Many scenes reinforce this; Satellite will be racing around after one tragedy or another, and the US tanks just roll past, indifferent.

This is not a feel-good movie. It is disturbing, haunting, troubling, and heart-breaking.
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