Turtles Can Fly

Bahman Ghobadi

The unsurpassed film 'Turtles Can Fly' by Iranian Kurd director Bahman Ghobadi is set in a refugee camp at the border between Iraq and Turkey, just before the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The adults are desperately looking for a satellite receiver to keep them posted on the impending attack on Iraq. That’s where 13-year-old Kak ‘Satellite’ comes in. He is the uncontested leader of the children in the camp and under his command the children organize dangerous games, like defusing landmines and digging up unexploded ammunition that they sell to the authorities. Henkov, who lost both hands when he stepped on a landmine, is a boy with the gift of prophecy. He looks after his pretty sister Argin and an infant boy that may be her son. obsessed by the beauty of Argin, group leader Satellite tries to win the favours of the close-knit trio.
While the tone of 'Turtles Can Fly' is light, its overtone certainly is not. Partly thanks to the charismatic young actors the film won the 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam’s public award.


Bahman Ghobadi
Babak Amini, Hamid Karim Batin Ghobadi
Country of production
Iran, Iraq, France
98 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Mij Film Co.
Dutch distributor
A-Film Benelux MSD