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Turtles Can Fly

Turtles Can Fly

5.0 4
Director: Bahman Ghobadi, Soran Ebrahim, Hirsh Feyssal, Avaz Latif

Cast: Bahman Ghobadi, Soran Ebrahim, Hirsh Feyssal, Avaz Latif

Turtles Can Fly, written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi (Marooned in Iraq, A Time for Drunken Horses) takes place in the days leading up to America's second war against Iraq, in a small village and refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Turkey. Soran Ebrahim stars as Satellite, a boy nicknamed for his obsession with technology. Satellite is also


Turtles Can Fly, written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi (Marooned in Iraq, A Time for Drunken Horses) takes place in the days leading up to America's second war against Iraq, in a small village and refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Turkey. Soran Ebrahim stars as Satellite, a boy nicknamed for his obsession with technology. Satellite is also obsessed with the United States, and sprinkles bits of English throughout his speech. His strong personality and his resourcefulness have made him a leader among the younger children in the village. He even convinces the village elders to trade in their radios and purchase a satellite dish so they can watch news broadcasts on the upcoming war. Tension mounts as the village waits to hear when the U.S. will invade. For his part, Satellite finds himself smitten with an orphan girl, Agrin (Avaz Latif), who wanders into the refugee camp with her armless older brother, Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal), and a little boy who is nearly blind. Henkov earns a meager living clearing minefields, like Satellite, so Satellite sees him, at first, as a rival. But his earnest desire to help Agrin eventually extends to her family. Satellite and his friends find moments of joy amid the chaos and destruction, but Agrin seems haunted by past events too painful to reconcile, and her brother Henkov derives no pleasure from his seeming ability to predict the future. Turtles Can Fly was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2005 as a part of the Film Comment Selects series.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
The true face of "perpetual warfare" is exposed in Bahman Ghobadi's astonishing and heart-wrenching Turtles Can Fly. Set precipitously on the border of Iraq, Turkey, and Kurdistan, with the second Gulf War looming, Ghobadi's film succeeds almost immediately in naturalizing deprivation and destruction. It throws us right into a world of maimed kids who lead lives of desperation. But they're still children, and most of them retain an interest in childish pursuits, in friendship and in play. There are moments of joy and warmth amid the terror, and Ghobadi and his talented young cast of nonprofessionals convey it all beautifully, and the filmmaker manages to tell an engrossing story without a hint of contrivance. Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) is our entry point, and despite his braggadocio, Ebrahim is an immensely likeable presence. His essential decency is drawn out by Agrin's (Avaz Latif) plight. Even her armless psychic brother, Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal), finds a way to move beyond his ordeal. He's still driven by a need to survive, and by his sense of responsibility toward Agrin and the little blind boy who travels with them. But Agrin is too traumatized to adjust, and the blind toddler becomes the focal point of her feelings of degradation. Satellite, a natural optimist who admires President Bush ("The world is in his hands," he says with awe) learns a painful lesson. It would be difficult to overstate Ghobadi's accomplishment here. Turtles Can Fly is humane, funny, and visually acute, but it never shies away from the ugliness that mars these innocent lives.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Director's Commentary; Deleted Scenes; Bonus Previews

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Turtles Can Fly
1. Start [2:38]
2. Deprived From the Sky [9:50]
3. Satellite's Information [9:57]
4. Kids' Work [12:09]
5. Mines for Bargaining [8:33]
6. At Her Service [4:30]
7. A Night's Plan [12:07]
8. An Important Prediction [7:45]
9. Anticipating Invasion [4:17]
10. Conceived Abandonment [6:13]
11. Everything Ends Tomorrow [10:15]
12. Saddam Has Fallen [9:07]


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Turtles Can Fly 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Lakposhtha hâm 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. But the manner in which the children finally observe as Hussein's statue topples and as the American troops distribute 'hopeful' fliers from helicopters, events bringing an end to their temporary refuge camp status, is heart-wrenchingly portrayed. The film is full of passion. The young 'actors' are splendid: how Ghobadi found such children to play tough parts in such a wholly naturalistic way is a true feat of genius. This is a powerful, disturbing, yet ultimately beautiful film that deserves everyone's close attention. In Kurdish with English subtitles. Highly recommended! Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply one of the most amazing movies that I ever seen, nearly to cry, with a strange feelings in the heart, in the stomach... when you're in home and have childs the first thing to come is give them a tenderly hug..... the reality is crude and nobody can stop it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago