To see or not to see
A parental dilemma on Bahman Ghobadi's "Turtles
March 3, 2005
Despite the cynical title "Turtles
Can Fly", we asked
our teenagers if they would like to join us in seeing this latest
movie by Bahman Ghobadi [See: "The
heirs of wars"]. They preferred skate
boarding and online chatting over
spending an evening with "boring" parents. Since they
promised not to waste all their time on "prohibited" sites,
we let them have their choices, so they let us have ours.
the movie is an educational and philosophical master-piece, I was
not disappointed that the kids had chosen a more cheerful
activity for their weekend. It reminded me of "The Blind Owl" by
Hedayat, a "prohibited" book by parents for severe hopelessness
of its depressed, alcoholic, psychotic, and suicidal main character!
There's no doubt that neither Hedayat nor Ghobadi wish to spread
rather they intend to remind the public of the suffering
of some of fellow human beings.
The purpose for this writing
is to discuss whether children should see this movie after
describing a personal impression on the main characters.
The movie is played by ery talented children. Surrounding
Agrin, a teenage mother and symbol of a motherland, are few teenage
boys who reminded me of Plato's three classes of a well functioning
state, the guardians, the artisans, and the warriors. The introverted
Hangao represents the wise, patient, and supporting guardian who
has lost both of his arms due to his life circumstances, yet he
uses his teeth not only to make a living but to neutralize dangers
While Hangao's life is run by reason, emotions play an
important role in the daily life of Sherko and Pasheo, the loyal
and obeying artisans; they are content with their social role,
follow orders, and takes charge whenever they are expected to
serve the people, without many expectations.
The extroverted and
rounded Satellite is the courageous warrior, who is tactful
and adaptive. He makes connections, solves conflicts, and even
weapons; it is not quite clear if he needs guns for self defense
or to fulfill a masculine wish. He not only orders others to
do whatever they can, but also takes his fair share of responsibilities
to help his community; he even put his own life in jeopardy
to rescue the life of Agrin's blind son.
The main character, Agrin,
symbolizes the suffering motherland that has been the victim
an assault by invaders.
The result is Agrin's carrying a blind child, Rega, resembling
an imposed identity which she can not accept as her own. Rega has
his own internal beauty and a calming smile, yet to Agrin he is
often an unwanted burden. She attempts to abandon him so he can
end up under the care of those whom she thinks he belongs.
unexpected events and a strange motherly affection prevent this
from happening until an accident causes Rega to drown. Agrin's
suffering only increases. She hasn't had any access to support,
knowledge, and guidance and remains hopeless. The previously
ignorant and arrogant heroic rescuers regain their sense of humanity
arrive at the land of Agrin, unfortunately only after she has
taken her own life.
Considering Agrin's suicide, parents might list the "Turtles
Can Fly" among the "prohibited" movies for their
children. However, some parents might point out that the real motherland
of Agrin, despite denial of her identity and becoming the victim
of assault and aggressive behavior of her invading neighbors has
never given up and always cherished life. Human being is usually
resistant to restriction but welcomes choices. Those whose choices
have been respected often respect other people's choices.
in the movie have already tasted liberty and started watching "prohibited" music
channels with their rescuers; with such an exposure likely they
won't buy into unreasonable restrictions anymore! If the children
decide to see this movie and parents remain anxious about its depressive
effect, they still have the option to combine it with "Jeyan" (Life),
a movie by Rosebiani, which reflects a more lively and hopeful
version of life in Agrin's motherland.
On a last but not least
important note, we are now in the month of March, which has been
historically an eventful month for Agrin's land. Despite their
sorrowful history, these people make the 21st of March, the first
day of spring, an agrin (fiery) day as a symbol of energy, change,
and hope for a new beginning each year.
On this day many parents
give their children a gift. A voucher to see the combination
of the Ghobadi's and Rosebiani's movies might be a valuable educational
spring gift to those, who have an interest in understanding
the sorrow and joy of a struggling and stateless but hopeful people!
The voucher will give them a chance to freely make a choice
seeing none, one, or both of these movies.
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is a member of:
- Kurdish American Education Society
- Kurdish National Congress of North America
- Kurdistan Referendum Movement