Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Film Festival, Jan. 24, Feb. 8 and Feb. 22

All Films begin at 2pm
Speed Art Museum Auditorium (easy to find, just go and ask anyone there)

january 25, “Turtles can Fly”

february 8, “Border Cafe”

february 22, “The Color of Paradise”

Turtles can Fly
The film is set in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq. Thirteen-year-old Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) is known for his installation of dishes and antennae for local villages who are looking for news of Saddam Hussein and for his limited knowledge of English. He is the dynamic, but manipulative leader of the children, organizing the dangerous but necessary sweeping and clearing of the minefields.
The industrious Satellite arranges trade-ins for unexploded mines. He falls for an orphan named Agrin (Avaz Latif), a sad-faced girl traveling with her disabled, but smart brother Henkov, who appears to have the gift of clairvoyance. The siblings care for a toddler, whose connection to the pair is discovered as harsh truths are revealed.

The film however, has been critiqued by many, including well-known left wing intellectuals like Tariq Ali, who says that despite a beautiful story line, the film is one sided and seems to support the American invasion of Iraq. Significantly, the film is silent about what happens to ‘Satellite’ after the Americans finally land in their refuge camp. Other critics consider that the film reflects the true sentiment of the Iraqi people who despised the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, in particular the Kurds who were so mercilessly exterminated by Saddam’s regime, and felt liberated by the American forces, as were the Europeans half a century ago.

Border Cafe
A young widow takes over her late husband’s truck stop café, keeping hidden in the kitchen so as not to cause a scandal in Iran’s conservative society. But her brother-in-law, out of familial obligation, wants to take her as a wife and also take over the café. Meanwhile a Greek trucker who is a frequent café customer, is slowly entranced – at first by her sublime cooking ability, and then by her.

The Color of Paradise
Mohammad, a boy at Tehran’s institute for the blind, waits for his dad to pick him up for summer vacation. While waiting, he realizes a baby bird has fallen from its nest: he chases away a cat, finds the bird, climbs a tree, and puts it back. His father finally comes and takes him to their village where his sisters and granny await. The lad is a loving student of nature and longs for village life with his family, but his father is ashamed of him, wanting to farm the boy out to clear the way for marriage to a woman who knows nothing of this son. Over granny’s objections, dad apprentices Mohammad far from home to a blind carpenter. Can anything bring father and son together?


~ by louisvillefreeschool on January 22, 2009.

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