I'm pondering whether to watch the last 40 minutes of TURTLES CAN FLY, a fascinating depiction of kids in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Turkish border days before the American invasion of Iraq. Shekhar Kapur (director of ELIZABETH, one of my favorite movies ever) mentioned it on his blog
It's a world that's as compelling as it is appalling. The movie starts with a teenage girl jumping off a cliff. The teenage "hero" makes his living by browbeating and conniving the refugee kids into disarming mines by hand to sell to a local broker who will then sell them to the UN. The strangeness of the situation, which I could not have imagined on my own, draws me in; the appalling makes it hard to watch. Another major character is a boy with no arms, perhaps from failing to disarm a mine. It doesn't make it any easier to watch that the actor is a boy who's lost his arms, while other characters are played by child actors who have lost other limbs. I stopped 54 minutes in last night, when it began to get worse
. I had to go in and hug my daughter, and thank God I live in Canada.
I could have probably managed the last 40 minutes if I felt there was going to be a message of hope, but I gather from the comments on the Net ("descends into miserablism") that it goes in the opposite direction. Which, really, did it have to? I already got the point that life sucks for these kids. But hey, it's not my movie.
Anyway ... still worth renting for the first 55 minutes, and if you've got an iron constitution, you can finish it. And tell me how it turned out.
Labels: watching movies