Tuesday, October 17, 2006

KURDISH FILM FILES

KURDISH FILM FILES
Kurdish Film Files and links are provided as a resource without editing and commentary.

Links:
Kurdfilm
Articles about film and TV in Kurdish (Sorani) E Mail: sina@chello.se
Kurdweb/Germany Film related information
hosted by German Human Rights Server

1. A Song for Beko
2. The Edinburgh Festival/ Gas Attack |Roadblocks' - A Greek Film about Kurdish Refugees.
3. GOOD KURDS, BAD KURDS No Friends but the Mountains
4. Kurdish Film In Exile (KFE)
5. Creativity Refuses to Wilt in Iran
6. Blackboards' director chalks up artistic success
7. When the Horses Got Drunk By Siamak R. Durroei
8. Bahman Hobadi Interview with Ozgur Politika
9. KURDISH FILMS AVAILABLE ON VIDEO
10 Materialien zu Filmen von und �ber Kurden

11. Kurdische Filme aus der T�rkei und aus dem Iran
12. Filme von Kurden und Kurdinnen, entstanden in der Schweiz

13. Schweizer Filme zum Thema
14. Deutsche Filme zum Thema

15. LES CHANSONS DU PAYS DE MA MÈRE / AVAZHA-YE SARZAMIN-E MADARI-AM
16. 1st London Kurdish Film Festival 9– 15 November 2001
17. 2nd London Kurdish Film Festival 15 – 28 November 2002

18. Introduction by Bahman Ghobadi / Welcome to the 2nd London Kurdish Film Festival
19. Songs of My Homeland by Bahman Ghobadi

20. Jhíyan (Jiyan)


1. A Song for Beko


A Song for Beko / Klamek Ji Bo Beko / Beko�nun Turkusu ( Germany) 1992, 100 min. In Kurdish with English subtitles
Directed by: Nizamettin Aric; Written by: Nizamettin Aric and Christine Kernich; Cinematography by: Thomas Mauch; Music by: Nizamettin Aric; Costume Design by : Nizamettin Ariç , Christine Kernich Produced by :Margarita Woskanjan; Cast: Beko (Nizamettin Aric), Zine (Bezara Arsen), Zeyno (Lusika Hesen), Cemal (Cemale Jora)
Distributed by Nizamettin Aric, Wilhelmshoher Str. 2612161 Berlin, Germany, Tel: 011-49-30-851-4786 Fax: 011-49-30-852-9974.
Nizamettin Aric makes his directorial debut and also stars in A Song for Beko, one of the first films in Kurdish (he also scripted this eloquent film and composed and played its musical score). Aric himself was imprisoned for speaking the Kurdish language in public and exiled from Turkey. Beko begins his long pilgrimage -- in search of his brother -- in Kurdirsh areas of Turkey, where he escapes arrest. Fleeing into Syria, this modern-day Odysseus then makes his way into the serenely beautiful highlands of the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Here, in a nomadic community caring for refugee children, Beko finds himself and a homeland. But inevitably this peace is broken."To be a refugee is a Kurdish fate," says Aric. "The more the people of the world know about us, the more we can hope. That is why I made this film."
'Ein Lied für Beko' ist der erste in kurdischer Sprache gedrehte Film. Die Geschichte, die von einer emotionalen Kraft der Bilder getragen ist, spielt 1988. Beko wird von den türkischen Militärs verschleppt, doch gelingt ihm die Flucht über den Euphrat nach Syrisch-Kurdistan, um nach seinem Bruder zu suchen, der vom Militär desertiert ist. In Irakisch-Kurdistan trifft er auf Menschen, die in einem Zeltlager vor dem iranisch-irakischen Krieg Zuflucht gefunden haben. Aus Sicherheitsgründen bleibt er mit ihnen. Während Beko weiterhin auf Nachricht von seinem Bruder wartet, beschäftigt er sich mit den zum Teil elternlosen und vom Krieg traumatiserten Kindern. Als die Flüchtlinge endlich wagen, in ihr Dorf zurückzukehren, wird dieses mit Giftgas bombardiert. Nur Beko und die kleine Zinê überleben. Ihnen gelingt die Flucht nach Deutschland. Dort erfährt Beko, dass sein Bruder vom Militär eingezogen und bei einem Überfall von kurdischen Widerstandskämpfern erschossen wurde.
Der Film wurde unter schwierigsten und durchwegs illegalen Bedingungen an der armenischen Grenze zur Türkei gedreht. Der Regisseur sagt von sich, er habe die Geschichte im kollektiven Gedächtnis seines Volkes gefunden, da sie dem Schicksal vieler Landsleute gleiche: 'Natürlich war klar, dass wir einen politischen Film machen würden, aber nicht so einen,der schreit. Wir wollten eine Form finden, die Lage der Kurden so darzustellen, dass der Zuschauer auch Zugang zur Problematik findet.'
Since 1974, Nizamettin Aric has performed as a singer/actor on several radio and television programs in Istanbul and Turkey. He starred in Sabah, directed by Sina Cetin. The film won First Prize at the Hyeres Festival in 1982. He also starred in Kurban Oldugum, directed by Sahin Gok, which won a Special Jury Award at the Antalya Festival in 1985. In addition, Aric composed the score for both films. A military revolt forced Aric into exile in 1980, after which time he had to serve a short term in prison for using the Kurdish language in public in Turkey. The use of the Kurdish language in any written or spoken form is considered illegal and can be punished by a long prison sentence. Since 1981, Aric has lived in Berlin. He was granted political asylum in 1984. A Song for Beko is Aric's directorial debut and is the first Kurdish language film.


2. Gas Attack

Gas Attack (Scotland, UK) 2001 70 mins
Directed by: Kenny Glenaan Produced by: Samantha Kingsley Written by: Rowan Joffe Edited by: Kristina Hetherington DoP: Graham Smith; Production Designer: Zoe McLeod; Music by: Max De Wardener ; Cast:Sherko Zen-Aloush, Benae Hassan, Robina Qureshi, Laurie Ventry, Morag Caulder
Dist co/int sales: prod co: Hart Ryan Scotland, 41 St Vincent Place, Glasgow, G1 2ER, Scotland, UK. tel: +44 (0) 141 248 8522 fax: +44 (0) 141 248 8322 email: scothartryan@aol.com
Film about Kurdish refugees wins Edinburgh film fest .A controversial docudrama about alleged mistreatment of refugees in Glasgow was selected as the best new British feature film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The film,Gas Attack (Silent Killer) garnered a $7,000 cash prize. Produced for less than $1 million, the 70-minute film describes the life of a family of Turkish Kurds and was described in the festival program as "a horrifying picture of the experience of the asylum seeker." The festival jury praised "the way it has taken the by now over-familiar style of reality television and made of it something profound and thought provoking."
"The film is about what would happen if the unthinkable occurred in a city like Glasgow - if a right wing terrorist, instead of using a bomb (like the nailbomber), unleashed a lethal gas on a heavily ethnic area of the city. It is an entirely fictional scenario, but one which throws up many issues which are frighteningly pertinent in today�s climate. This is partly due to the fact that there was a long and intense casting period, around five months, during which time we trawled Glasgow for as many non-actors as possible to play the key parts in the film. A rich and intensely fascinating by-product of this process was a wealth of real stories from all kinds of local people, including asylum seekers many of whose stories were incorporated into the script by the writer Rowan Joffe.
I was shocked by the savagery of these stories and stunned by people�s fortitude in the face of trauma both in Glasgow and in their home countries. Ultimately, the four central roles in the drama went to non-actors, with some excellent support from experienced actors. For me, it is both the authenticity of the script and the strength of the performances that creates what I feel is a very powerful piece of drama with a chillingly topical message."
� Kenny Glenaan, director
Modern life really is rubbish, especially if you are an asylum seeker. But life seems to be getting worse for Turkish Kurds housed on high-rise estates in Glasgow. One man dies from a �flu virus, then a child gets sick. Is it �flu or tuberculosis, or something worse? Focussing on the experience of a refugee father and daughter, Gas Attack paints a horrifying picture of the experience of the asylum seeker. And, in drawing comparisons with the culling of animals during the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak, this compelling low budget film offers much to ponder on.
Rod White (Source: http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2001/ September 2, 2001)


Roadblocks' - A Greek Film about Kurdish Refugees.
The Edinburgh Festival also showed a film by Greek documentary film-maker Stavros Ioannou called Klisti Dromi - Roadblocks. It focusses on the fate of a pair of Kurdish refugee brothers who flee to Greece after their village is bombed. Ayat searches frantically for his brother Ahmed amongst the refugee community in Athens. He tries to reach Italy, where he thinks he can start life afresh, but runs into great danger dealing with smugglers and border officials. This film centres on the dangers of refugees attempting to break into Fortress Europe and was filmed completely at night.


3. GOOD KURDS, BAD KURDS No Friends but the Mountains


An independent documentary film by Kevin McKiernan Cinematography: Haskell Wexler
Nine years in the making, the film probes an issue largely ignored by the mainstream media: the Turkish military�s violations of the human rights of Kurds in southeast Turkey, with the compliance of the U.S. government. Thefilm moves from a Kurdish refugee family in Santa Barbara, to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., to Kurdish villages, examining inconsistencies of U.S. foreign policy towards Kurds in Turkey and Iraq. Awarded the Human Rights Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival


4. Kurdish Film In Exile (KFE)


Kurdish Film In Exlie (KFE) was established in London on November 1996. by Kurdish Exiles who are studding Cinema in Europe with supplort from virous Kurdish Organizations and Individuals.
Address: 195B Kennington Road London SE11 6ST
Tel: 0171- 582 6635 Fax: 0181- 429 4225
Chiman Rahimi Chair-Person ,Rzgar Said, Secretary ;Mehdi Falahati Treasury. Counsellors
Ken McMullen, Yousif Zangana Peshro Namo.
Kurdish Film In Exlie (KFE) was established in London on November 1996. by Kurdish Exiles who are studding Cinema in Europe with support from various Kurdish Organizations and Individuals.
Please send us your comment and views to: KurdishFilmInExile(KFE)



5. Creativity Refuses to Wilt in Iran

By ROBIN WRIGHT, Times Staff Writer
In a society bursting with new ideas despite religious restrictions, filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf is a post-revolution symbol of a country where culture is helping raise the national consciousness.
TEHRAN--Samira Makhmalbaf got the idea for her first movie from a small item on the evening news. Twin girls, age 12, had been rescued from parents who had kept them housebound since they were born. Unschooled and unexposed to anyone but their blind mother and elderly, deeply religious father, they walked as if severely disabled and couldn't pronounce real words. They had never even been bathed.
With a sense of urgency, Makhmalbaf convinced reluctant authorities and the family to let her make a film about the case--and rather than use actors, she wanted the twins, their parents, neighbors and social workers to play themselves. Eleven days after she began shooting, with an idea but no formal script--and with out ever doing a second take--"The Apple" was finished.
"I couldn't wait to start, because I knew the kids would change quickly," she explained recently. And they did. Her anguishing yet often sweetly humorous film, completed in 1997, chronicles the girls discovering life, from their first walk in the sun and their first look in a mirror to their first game. It was soon hailed by reviewers from Paris to New York, shown at 70 film festivals around the world and awarded prizes in Britain, Switzerland, Greece, Brazil and Argentina.
After "The Apple" was released, the only young person in Iran more famous than the twins was Makhmalbaf herself. She was just 17--the youngest director ever to have a work shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Makhmalbaf is a symbol of Iran two decades after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is a society bursting with creativity despite stiff religious restrictions. It's a country where culture is helping shape public discussion and raise the national consciousness. It's also a land in transition, home both to children sequestered from birth and a world-renowned teenage film director.
Makhmalbaf's emergence reflects what arguably is the revolution's most unexpected byproduct: a vibrant and original cinema that, in an ironic twist, now challenges many of the goals of the mullahs who toppled the shah. The saga of the twins, for example, has fueled heated debate about the degree of liberty the paternal clergy allows its flock, particularly its female flock.
"What I noticed about the girls is that the more they came into contact with society, the more complete they became as human beings. For me, their story became a metaphor for all women," Makhmalbaf said. Now 20, she still wears her raven hair in girlish braids, but she speaks with a maturity far beyond her years.
In the twins' father's simplistic devotion to rigid Islamic codes, "The Apple" also pointedly warns of the dangers of religious fanaticism.
"The Koran explains the reason for the father's behavior," Makhmalbaf said. "It says girls are like flowers, that they'll wilt if exposed to sunlight. It sounds beautiful, like poetry. But it's not good that these bad things are written like poetry in ways you believe are absolute truths."
The film, however, ends on a surprisingly upbeat note. In one of several poignant scenes, a social worker discovers that the father has locked up the girls again before going off to work--selling prayers for coins, a locally acceptable form of begging--because he doesn't know how else to "protect" them. Upon his return, she locks him up instead and frees the girls to roam their neighborhood, play for the first time with other children, taste ice cream and pet a goat.
Again, the message is clear: Freedom is essential to the growth of the human spirit.
Iran's bold film industry has flourished because of the isolation provided by a revolution that initially cut off the outside world. With limited foreign competition, local filmmakers filled the void. The monarchy's end also opened the way for artists to explore forms of expression beyond what the royal court had ordered, supported or condoned and beyond the American, European and Indian models that had dominated local screens.
Like many in her generation, Makhmalbaf grew up with out seeing any of world cinema's classics. Her family didn't even have a videocassette player to show foreign movies brought into the country illegally and circulated on Tehran's black market.
The resulting freshness of Makhmalbaf's style--a kind of rawness that often blurs the lines between reality and fiction--also is on display in her second film, "Blackboards." Set along the Iran-Iraq border in the rugged region known as Kurdistan as war raged between the two countries in the 1980s, it tells the story of two itinerant teachers. With large blackboards strapped to their backs, they search for students or anyone else willing to learn.
The subplot that unfolds amid the teachers' encounters with child smugglers and refugees is an unusual love story. After one of the pair weds a widowed refugee in an arranged marriage--a practice still prevalent in Iran--he uses his blackboard to try to explain love and commitment to his new wife. But she balks. And in the end, she leaves him.
"You can't teach love or impose loyalty," Makhmalbaf said, voicing another theme with strong resonance with in Iran's social and political systems.
Letting Characters Be Themselves
For all the obstacles faced by the characters, from chemical weapons to poverty, this second film also is filled with moments of subtle humor, even hilarity. The blackboards often wind up being used for other purposes, from serving as a stretcher to paying the price for a bride.
With one exception, the cast of the movie is made up of amateurs, all local Kurds.
"I loved the geography of their faces," the young director said. Most of the new actors had never seen a movie before.
One of the two leads was a porter who helped Makhmalbaf, then 19, ferry equipment into the Kurdish mountains.
"He inspired me to make his character," she said. "I don't try to make a form and then force these characters to fit. I want real life to happen in my movies. I told them the kinds of things to say, but I didn't dictate. I knew they'd say the right things because they were the characters themselves.
"In the same way, I didn't tell them what was going to happen--in part because I wasn't sure. There wasn't an exact script," she added, laughing. "I had different endings, but I didn't know till the last moment which one I wanted. They inspired me to decide what would happen."
To remain true to the culture, Makhmalbaf also shot the movie in the relatively obscure Kurdish language, making it a foreign-language film even in Iran--despite the fact that there are only a handful of movie houses in Kurdish enclaves in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
"At least 99% of the audience for this movie won't speak Kurdish, but I had to make it in Kurdish for the same reasons I had to make it in Kurdistan," Makhmalbaf said. "To capture the reality, I had to make it in the real language and the real conditions."
She also remained true to the landscape, filming in narrow mountain passes and fields where Iraqi mines planted during the Mideast's bloodiest modern war are still buried. Cast members helped the crew navigate around them. The company had limited electricity and little access to fresh water, and the climate was bone-chillingly cold. The film was shot with a single hand-held camera in 30 days. Total production took three months on a budget of about $200,000--large by Iranian standards.
Overcoming the Generation Gap
And those weren't the only problems. Most of the cast members were two or three times older than Makhmalbaf, and all but one were male.
"At first, it's hard--especially in our culture--to get men to take a younger woman seriously," she said. "They think they're superior. Some say you can't be young and thin and female and be a serious director. But who says you have to be old and fat and male to make movies?
"A lot of barriers are being broken in Iran today. I show the men I work with that I'm their equal. I never ask them to do something I won't do too," she said.
In May, "Blackboards" became Makhmalbaf's second film to be screened at Cannes, this time as part of the competition. But any recognition seemed so unlikely that she almost missed the awards ceremony.
"I didn't intend to go. I was planning to go to Paris with some friends, but we couldn't get a hotel," she said.
Then her name was called. At the grand old age of 20, Makhmalbaf was co-winner of the Jury Prize, one of the four top awards at the festival. She is the youngest director ever to be honored at Cannes.
She used her victory to reflect on its meaning for Iran.
"I accept this prize on behalf of a new generation in my country and young people who are trying their best to create democracy and a better life," she told the audience.
"I know I'm a metaphor for Iran," she added in an interview later. "I represent a generation that is willing to go out and express its ideas. It's like the girls in 'The Apple,' once having little communication and being retarded and then suddenly having exposure and growing rapidly to create something new."
Makhmalbaf wasn't the only Iranian to win at Cannes this year. The Camera d'Or prize for best first feature film was shared by two Iranian films: "A Time for Drunken Horses" and "Djomeh." The latter was named after its lead character, a young boy. Together, Iranian films won more prizes than movies from any other country.
Two weeks after Cannes, Makhmalbaf also won Italy's Fellini Prize, named for its greatest director--one whose work Makhmalbaf still has never seen.
Artists Getting More Recognition
Nor was this the first year that Iran's cinema scored big on the festival circuit. Over the last six years, films from the Islamic Republic--many of them about children--have won dozens of awards at major festivals. "The White Balloon" won the Cannes Camera d'Or in 1995 and the New York Film Critics Award for best foreign film in 1996. "The Taste of Cherry," the story of a man planning to kill himself, won the Palme d'Or, Cannes' highest honor, in 1997. "Children of Heaven" was one of five finalists for the foreign film Oscar in 1999.
Iranian directors also are being increasingly recognized. Last year, Lincoln Center in New York, the American Film Institute in Washington and the Chicago Art Institute all held retrospectives of the work of Dariush Mehrjui, a UCLA alumnus and one of the first major directors to emerge after the revolution. His award-winning quartet of movies about women--who all either set out on their own or leave their husbands--has been shown worldwide.
Another of Iranian cinema's post-revolutionary heavyweights is Makhmalbaf's father, Mohsen. Imprisoned for five years by the shah for attacking a policeman, a crime he committed when he was 17, Mohsen Makhmalbaf made some of the country's most religious and ardently revolutionary films after 1979.
In the mid-1980s, however, his films began to challenge the ruling orthodoxy. One, made at the height of the Iran-Iraq War, was blatantly antiwar. Another, titled "Time of Love," told the story of a married woman who falls for a younger man. It was banned in Iran for five years, not because of its theme of forbidden love but because it had three endings--from the perspectives of the woman, her husband and the younger man. Implicit was the message that perception varies, and so does the truth. There is no "single path," as orthodox Muslims believe.
The elder Makhmalbaf's most unusual movie is "A Moment of Innocence," about his knife attack on one of the shah's policemen. He and the officer he assaulted play themselves. As the largely unscripted story unfolded, both discovered how much they had changed since the incident.
Makhmalbaf's influence on his daughter is obvious. At 6 months of age and again at age 8, Samira had minor roles in his films. She pressured him to let her drop out of school when she was 15 to be tutored in movie-making--by him. She brought along friends, and his impromptu classes eventually became known as their "Ecole du Cinema."
"Loving cinema was part of loving my family," she said.
Nor is she the only other movie-maker in the family. Her younger sister Hanna was only 8 when she made her first short film, "The Day My Aunt Was Ill." Her younger brother made a documentary about the filming of "Blackboards." And her stepmother recently finished "The Day That I Became a Woman."
The senior Makhmalbaf talked Samira through the ideas for both of her movies and then edited them. And she still lives with the family and works out of their small apartment-cum-office, which is decorated with posters from their films.
But the strong-willed older daughter is just as clearly already a force unto herself. While in Kurdistan, she didn't even call home during the filming.
"I'm like the new generation in Iran," she said, smiling. "I can do this on my own."


6. Blackboards' director chalks up artistic success


Blackboards (Takhte Siah) (Drama, Iran-Italy co-production, Kurdish dialogue, 1:24)
By David Stratton
CANNES (Variety) - The second feature by 20-year-old Samira Makmalbaf is in many ways an advance on her first, more intimate offering, ``The Apple.''
A bold and provocative look at the plight of refugees and other outsiders struggling to survive on the dangerous Iran-Iraq border, ``Blackboards'' is accomplished in many ways, though a certain repetitiousness may alienate some Western viewers.
A tough theatrical sell, pic should find enthusiastic audiences on the festival route this summer and gain the kudos required for niche theatrical exposure, followed by quality TV slotting.
The blackboards of the film's title are carried on the backs of a group of male teachers, first seen, in an almost surreal image, trekking up stony mountain paths in search of illiterates to educate. Exactly why these displaced pedagogues are looking for clients in this godforsaken place is never spelled out, but the assumption is that these are Kurds who have no place in mainstream Iranian society. At the very outset, the notion of an Iranian film centering on members of such a minority seems a powerful statement.
Forced to hide from helicopters that patrol the mountainous border region, the would-be teachers split up. Two of them, Reeboir (Bahman Ghobadi) and Said (Said Mohamadi), cover their boards with brown mud so they will be less visible from the air and later take separate paths. Reeboir meets a bunch of adolescent boys whose scarred faces make them look old beyond their years; these lads are literally beasts of burden, carrying heavy baggage through the steep mountain passes, presumably smuggling goods across the border.
Reeboir [Rebwar] tries to convince the boys that, even while engaged in this dangerous activity, they should learn to read and write. One boy disdains the benefit of education because he already has a fund of stories and proceeds to tell a grisly one involving a rabbit.
Meanwhile, Said encounters a group of old men who seem doomed to travel the rocky roads in search of somewhere they can find peace. One old man, so sick he can no longer urinate, has a daughter, Halaleh (Behnaz Jafari), and small grandson; in a bizarre wedding ceremony, Said and Halaleh marry with the blackboard as dowry.
No doubt there's more to be read into this elliptical tale of hunted fugitives, but on the most basic level Samira Makmalbaf has directed an often suspenseful drama that builds to a frightening climax when both groups are attacked by mostly unseen soldiers employing lethal firepower. The young helmer also creates some memorable characters, including the two indefatigable would-be teachers and many of the refugees and shepherds whose paths they cross.
Especially effective is a scene in which a very old man asks one of the teachers to read the contents of a letter he's received from his son, who is in prison in Iraq; the teacher cannot read the letter, which is in Arabic, but makes up what he thinks the son might have written to his aged father.
The screenplay, by Samira and her more established film director father, Mohsen Makmalbaf (who also edited), is based on a considerable amount of repetitive speech patterns, which irritate at times. For the uninitiated viewer, it is also necessary to read quite a bit between the lines. But the mood of fear coupled with dogged determination to survive is most effectively conveyed. Outstanding location photography by Ebrahim Ghafori is a major component of a challenging but ultimately rewarding film.
Reeboir ... Bahman Ghobadi
Said ...... Said Mohamadi
Halaleh ... Behnaz Jafari
A Makhmalbaf Film House (Tehran)/Fabrica Cinema (Rome) production, in association with Raicinema, T-Mark (Japan). (International sales: Wild Bunch/Le Studio Canal Plus, Paris.) Produced by Mohsen Makmalbaf, Marco Muller. Executive producer, Mohamad Ahmadi.
Directed by Samira Makmalbaf. Screenplay, Mohsen Makmalbaf, Samira Makmalbaf. Camera (color), Ebrahim Ghafori; editor, Mohsen Makmalbaf; music, Monamed Reza Darvishi; sound, Behroz Shahamat. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 11, 2000.
Reuters/Variety


7. When the Horses Got Drunk
By Siamak R. Durroei
"When the Horses Got Drunk", the first long film of Bahman Ghobadi, which won 3 prizes in Cann festival was shown in Kurdistan cities in Iran. The film which is in Kurdish, was shown earlier with Persian captions in Cinema tech of the contemporary museum of Art and Khaneh cinema (cinema house) both in Tehran.
Bahman Ghobadi was born in 1969 in the city of Bane, in Eastern Kurdistan. After working in a radio station during his years as a student, Ghobadi began making short films with a group of friends. Later moving to Tehran because of his passion for the cinema, he enrolled in the Cinema Faculty of Tehran University. The artist made over ten short films during the period 1995-99, of which nine won prizes at various Iranian and international film festivals. Becoming interested in the fact that Abbas Kiarostami, one of Iran's most renowned directors, was shooting a film in Kurdistan, Ghobadi asked to assist him, won his favor, and then worked as his first assistant in the film "The Wind Will Carry Us Away". Later, while Ghobadi was filming "When the Horses Got Drunk", he became acquainted with the Makhmalbaf family, which had come to Kurdistan to film "Takht-e Siyah" (The Blackboard). He then, at the suggestion of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, played the role of the teacher in that film [1].
The film is about a Kurdish family who lives near Iran-Iraq border. The 2 sons and 2 daughters in the family have no mother and their father dies in a mine explosion. The eldest son is sick (with Nanism) and looks likes a 2 years old baby despite being around 15 years old. The child is dying in a year and the children try to delay his death. The other son (around 11) who is the main character of the film works as a smuggler and the 12-13 years old daughter of the family marries to another Kurdish family across the border to help his sick brother. The Iraqi Kurdish family agrees that they pay the cost and expenses of curing the sick brother of the bride; this is the dowry for the bride.
The family is set for Iraq where they can cure the sick boy . In the cold mountains of Kurdistan, they feed their horses with alcohol to resist the cold and hard conditions. The drunken horses and the family are set to cross the Iran-Iraq mountainous border when they face the border patrols that ruin their plans. ...
The message of the film is clear, the family is happy, despite their miseries. The sick boy can be relieved from his misery, but his family tries prolong his life. The Kurdish language of the film and the death of the father, the marriage of the Kurds across the border in order to cure the sick and retarded son may have symbolic reference to the status of Kurds and the retarded and war stricken Kurdish regions. The family can be considered as a mirror of the Kurdish society.

In reply to a question that Ghobadi has made his film in order to win prizes in International film festivals, Ghobadi says: "If a filmmaker wants to think of this issue, he cannot make his film at all. During the making of this film, I only thought about the film and nothing else and what I never thought about was prize and festival, because none has had any attraction for me. Of course it is possible that some make films for festivals, but I have made this film and the previous short films in order to learn the cinema.
For me it wasn't the case that I want to make a long film to be accepted in film-festivals, but I felt that this story needs to be made as a long film in order to be watched. Because short films usually are left isolated and don't get the chance to be shown in any place but festivals."
On film-festivals, their selection criteria, Ghobadi explains that "For film festivals, one should see what is the philosophy behind setting one? In these festivals, people come not to let the art of cinema die, because now cinema has become "art-industry" or business. A group of people who are in love with cinema and art gather and with a small budget they set up a film festival to encourage those filmmakers who want to make an artistic film and open a new path in cinema and innovate. These people invite the filmmakers who experience other types of cinema to these festivals and in this way, these films find a global market. One of the biggest markets for selling films is also the market in the Cannes film festival. If the film "time for hourses drunkenness" was only shown in Iran, only Iranian people could watch it. When it was awarded prizes in Cannes film festival, this attracts the viewers to the cinema saloons throughout the world. So this type of films will have more viewers in contrast to the Iranian action movies and top-selling movies, in addition the people of the rest of the world will become familiar with our culture and traditions and it can serve our culture. Therefor film-festivals are useful and are a guarantee for the selling and inviting people for watching the film, the continuation of the work of filmmaker and an encouragement for the filmmakers who experience with cinema with a new approach. "
On Cannes film festival and films shown there, Ghobadi explains that "Cannes film festival is a big festival which is held very majestic, and in my opinion is one of the best festivals. When I watched the films there, I felt the empty place of Iranian great film masters. Because of the present potential of the Iranian cinema, in my opinion, we can have at least three films each year in the main events of the festival as we had this year films from Iran "Friday" and "When the Horses Got Drunk". The reason is the evaluation of the commentators (referees), that among the films by some famous and experienced film directors, the topmost evaluation of 5-heart was given to the film "When the Horses Got Drunk". No commentator evaluated the film normal or with out value and the film was shown 5 times that this high number of showing is the one of the highest. The reaction to the film was such that in the last screening in Cannes, some of the viewers were sitting on the floor to watch it. In my opinion, the viewers of the Cannes film festival are among the best because they watch the films so well and away from emotions that if they don't like a film they leave the saloon and you will hear their criticisms. If they enjoy a film they clap and encourage the film.
In the section "two weeks with film-directors", the film "dancer" or other films with the budget of more than 45 million dollars were the main rivals for "When the Horses Got Drunk". But when you put them close to each other, they won't have one percent of the humanistic issues which was raised in our films. ...
The films shown from other countries in different sections of the festival merely have used the technical issues, violence and sex which are not very important in human life. In fact the film-directors there have reached a kind of repetition and have nothing to say in front of Iranian filmmakers! In other words, the foreign filmmakers because of the speed in passing different stages had not the opportunity to elaborate on the stage we are in. We Iranians"
Ghobadi elaborates on the making of the film "When the Horses Got Drunk" and from where the story of the film came from. He says "I liked to make a cinema movie that has a story and a documentary structure. A film that the viewers can believe it and replace themselves with the main characters of the film. I like this kind of cinema. When I decided to make my first long movie, I was interested to incorporate all the features of a short film in it. I wanted to make a film that broke the structures. I have lived in the conditions and context of this film. I know these people very well. Although I have created works outside Kurdistan, but I have tried to make films close to reality. In my view, art is that the filmmaker is not from the region [of the film] and be able to portray the place well. In two short works that I have made outside Kurdistan, these features exist. If this type of structure can get its response from the viewers, I will continue this way. I like the cinema that it will satisfy the viewers in
first place and in second place be a cinema-art."
In a private talk with Ghobadi, the filmmaker told us that his next film would also be about Kurdistan.


8. Bahman Hobadi Interview with Ozgur Politika


[OP] If someone should want to become familiar with Bahman Ghobadi, how would you describe yourself?
I was born in the city of Bane in the Iranian part of Kurdistan. I have been involved with film for about ten years now. It was my interest in photography that brought me to the cinema, and it was in fact the topography of Kurdistan that attracted me. I started to study cinema at Tehran University, and made a number of 8 mm films. I made over ten short films.
[OP] How did "When the Horses Got Drunk" come about?
My greatest dream was to make a full-length film in Kurdistan, in the Kurdish language. On a trip to Kurdistan for this purpose some three years ago, I met Ayoub Ahmadi. What Ayoub told me corresponded with my own ideas completely. He plays a role in the film, and helped me a great deal.
[OP]As the first Kurdish film-maker in Iran, have you encountered any difficulties?
On the contrary, everyone was very supportive. We had to wait until winter to complete the filming in this film, which we began with an Iranian producer. He was very helpful to me throughout the entire time. And I can't begin to tell convey to you the degree of interest and help we got in the Kurdish villagers where we were filming. Everything was unbelievable.
[OP] How was it that you worked with two of Iran's most famous directors? How did you meet them? As I mentioned earlier, one of my most cherished dreams was always to make a film about the Kurds and Kurdistan. To date, no important film has been made about the Kurds. The ones made have all impressed me as being "light", or banal. I'm greatly attached to my country and my culture. My goal was to attract great producers to Kurdistan, and to make films about Kurdistan and the Kurds. Because there was really a need for this. This is why I worked as first assistant to Abbas Kiarostami. The film that we made introduced Kurdistan to people at international festivals. And again, that the Makhmalbaf family is making films in Kurdistan, about the Kurds, is very encouraging. I had a great responsibility to help people making films in my country. And so, at the suggestion of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, I played the role of the teacher in that film.
[OP] Had you had any acting experience before that?
No, none. I'm not an actor. When I was filming "When the Horses Got Drunk", they said they were looking for actors for "Takht-e Siyah" and asked me to help. So I stopped filming for a while and played that role. The only real reason for this was my passion for my country. I'm ready to help anyone who creates something for Kurdistan. "Takht-e Siyah" portrayed my country and my people. It made me proud that the film spoke of Kurdistan. And now both these films have brought Kurdistan to Cannes. That's the important thing.
[OP] If just any producer wanted to make a film in Eastern Kurdistan, are the conditions suitable for this?
If anyone wants to make a film in the Iranian part of Kurdistan about Kurdistan and the Kurds, whether they be Iranian or foreign, all of us, and especially my family and I, will be ready to help them. As long as the theme is Kurdistan.
[OP] What is your next project?
Let me say again, I'm in love with Kurdish culture. I have work underway in both the Iranian and the Iraqi parts of Kurdistan on this theme. When I return, I'll get back to work on these projects.
[OP] Do you have any final comments or messages?
I extend my greetings and my respects to our entire people. I'm an artist, and I want to speak as a Kurdish artist. I want to appeal to the Kurdish artists in the other parts of Kurdistan, and in the diaspora. My greatest wish is that Kurdish artists use their artistic talents and capabilities for Kurdistan and the Kurds. Whether they be film-makers or novelists. After all, art is the mirror of society. I'm more than willing, to the extent of my abilities, to provide them help and support.
Reference

[1] "Bahman Ghobadi - A Kurdish Director at Cannes Translation of Ozgur Politika by Kurdish Media, Issue May 20, 2000.
[2] "baray-e Jashnvareha film nemisazam�." (I don't make films for festivals �), Hamshahri, 27 Jul 2000, No 2177
[3] "esteghbal-e mardum-e Kurdistan az avvalin film-e kurdi"(The welcome of people of Kurdistan from the first Kurdish film ), Hamshahri, 27 Jul 2000, No 2177
Kurdish Media and Cinema II
This is the second issue of KURDICA on Kurdish Media and Cinema. In this issue we look at recent films and developments related to Kurdish media. One article in this issue is about Bahman Ghobadi, the first Iranian Kurd whose film was sent to the Cannes film festival and won prizes there. He is the first wellknown Kurdish filmmaker who makes long films in Iran. The Kurdish policy of Iran has recently been relaxed a bit and an increasing number of Kurdish films are being developed in Iran by non-govermental personalities.
Blackboard, another film in Iran portrays the Kurdish life in Iran or eastern Kurdistan region. The film is directed by Samira Makhbalbaf, the youngest female film-director in Iran and in her film Bahman Ghobadi is also playing as the teacher who meets boys who are smuggling in the mountains. This smuggling boys scene links blackboard to Ghobadi's film. Makhbalbaf's film raises the banned issue of Kurdish education in Iran. The picture above is from blackboard.
[Siamak R. D.] 31 July 2000 / KURDICA 4(6), Jul-Aug 2000, No. 42


9. KURDISH FILMS AVAILABLE ON VIDEO


Memuzin video production in Toronto (Canada) is one of the places to order Kurdish films.
Their web site also gives a list of Kurdish films.

E MAIL: memuzin@hotmail.com
1. Yol - Rêga, (1982) English subtitles Diredted by : Serif GÖREN
Screenplay & Dialogue by: Yilmaz GÜNEY Starring Tarik AKAN, Halil ERGUN and Necmettin ÇOBANOGLU
2. The Wall - Dîwar,(1983) Diredted by : Yilmaz GÜNEY
3. The Flock - Mêgel, (1983) Diredted by: Zeki Okten
Screenplay & Dialogue by: Yilmaz GÜNEY
4. Journey Of Hope - Karwanî Hîwa, (1990) Diredted by : Xavier Koller
With Necmettin Cobanoglu, et al
5. Nergiz, Bride of Kurdistan - Nêrgiz Bûkî Kurdistan, (1990) (Kurdish) (Not Available)
Diredted by : Jafar Ali
6. Flock of Wolves - Gelê Gurg, (1990) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Mehdi Umêd
7. Tunnel - Tunêl (1993) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Mehdi Umêd
8. A Song for Beko - Stranek Ji bo Beko (1993Diredted by : Nizammettin Ariç
With Nizammettin Ariç, Bêzara Arsen, et al
9. Aso, (1989) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Salman Fayiq
With Fehmi Kakeyi
10. Fate - Çarenûs (1993) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Salman Fayiq
11. Mem & Zin - Mem û Zîn (1992) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Ûmit Elci
With Musa Anter, et al
12. Khaj & Siyaband - Xec û Sîyabend (1994) (Kurdish)
Diredted by : Ûmit Elci Format : NTSC & PAL, Colour
13. Purpel Death - Mergî Erxewanî (1994) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Kamaran Rauf
With Ali Kerim, Kamal Sabir, Hussein Misri, et al
14. Black Tears - Firmêskî Re� (1993) Diredted by : Kamaran Rauf
With Ali Kerim, Hussein Misri, et al
15. Kingdom Of Sun - Memleketî Xor (1994) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Kamaran Rauf
With Ali Kerim, et al
16. Jale (1984) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Nasir Hasan
With Ali Kerim, Jihad Dilpak & et al
17. Gule Mêxek - Pink Flower (1990) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Osman Çêwar
With Kamal Sabir, Sîrwan Gemal, & et al
18. Xewxo� - Sweet Dreamer (1990) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Nasir Hasan
With Ahmad Salar & et al
19. Nuserî Seyr - Weird Playwright (1990) (Kurdish) Diredted by : Nasir Hasan
With Kamaran Rauf, Kamal Sabir & et al
20. Berd le cêy xoy sengîne - A Stone is Heavy in its Place (Kurdish) Diredted by : Nasir Hasan
With Newzad Mejid, Mekki Abdulla & et al
21. Îtir ture nabim - I will never be angry (Kurdish) Diredted by : Adil Abdulla
With Taha Baban, et al
22. Bukî Jêr Dewarî Re� - The Bride of the Black Tent (Kurdish) Diredted by : Adil Abdulla
With Abbas Jajeleyî, et al
23. Gulala (Kurdish) Diredted by : Sadun Yunis
With �amal Abdulla & et al
24. Lanewazan - The Unfortunates (Kurdish)
Diredted by : M. Ali Ramazan
With Wasta Ali, Kamal Sabir & et al
25. Beharî Dzraw - The Stolen Spring (Kurdish) Diredted by : Salman Fayiq
With Ali Kerim, Jihad Dilpak & et al
26. Çexmaxe - The Gun Dealer (Kurdish) Diredted by : Hasan Tenya
With Ahad Salar, Simko Nakam, et al
27. Jin be Jin - A Woman for a Woman (Kurdish) Directed by : Adil Abdulla
With Makki Abdulla (Ali Afani), Umer Chawshin & Abbas Zhazhaleyi
28. Mehemed & Sêwê (Kurdish) Directed by : Bextiyar Siyamesouri
With Saadoun Yunis, et al
29. Habu Nebu (Receb) - Once Upon a Time (Kurdish) Directed by : Bextiyar Siyamesouri
With Sadun Yunis, et al
30. Kewne Derga - The Old Door (Kurdish) Directed by : Sadun Yunis
With Ali Ahmad, Semîre, et al
31. Gerekekeman - Our Neiborghood (Kurdish)
Directed by : Ha�im Zeynel
With Sadun Yunis, Semîre Sadun, et al
32. Tapo Heqi Çîye - Land Registary Office has nothing to do with it. (Kurdish) Directed by : Zuhêr Abdulmesîh
With Salam Koyî, Gewher Bapîr, et al
33.
34. Las & Xezal (Kurdish)
Directed by : Bextiyar Siyamesouri
With Sabir Abdulrahman, et al
35. Xanzad (Kurdish)
Directed by : Adil Abdulla
With Axter Kerîm, Yasîn Berzingî, et al
36. Glkoy tazey Leyl - The New Love of Layla (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Abbas Jajeleyî
With Abbas Jajaleyî, et al
37. Çarenusî Ademîzad - A Man's Determination (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Bekir Re�îd
With Jihad Dilpak, et al
38. Heley Lawêk - A Young Man's Fault (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Newzad Mejid
With Newzad Mejid, Mekki Abdulla, et al
39. Senger (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Îsmaîl Berzingî
With Îsmaîl Berzingî, Mahamad Kak Hemze, et al
40. Serbazî Helatu - A runaway Soldier (1991) (Kurdish) Directed by : Bextîyar Kurdî
With Fuad Fayiq, Ziyab Kakeyî, et al
41. Jan û Raperîn - Pain and Uprising (1991) (Kurdish)
Directed by : Aso Îbrahîm With Aso Îbrahîm, Umer Salih, et al
42. Tawan - Sin (1991) (Kurdish) Directed by : Hasan Dilsoz
With Gemal Mahamad �erîf, Fatima Abdulrahman, et al
43. Hama Deçê bo �ar - Hama goes to town (1994) (Kurdish)
44. Zemawendî Hama - Hama's Wedding (1994) (Kurdish)
45. Hama Deçê bo henderan - Hama goes to Exile (1996) (Kurdish)
46. Rawî Sekosan û Hamay derbeder - Three Musketeers and the Fugitive Hama (1997) (Kurdish)
47. Hama û hawel Zawakey - Hama and his Brother-in-Law (1997) (Kurdish)
48. Hama Dengxo�î Seqizî - Saqizian Hama of pleasant voice (1995) (Kurdish)
49. Bizava Gundîya - The Struggle of a Village (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Azad Abdulla
With Abdulsalam Sulaiman, et al
50. Av û Xwên - Water and Blood (1992) (Kurdish) Directed by : Îbrahim Suleyman
With Abdulsalam Sulaiman, et al
51. Wîjdan - The Conscience (1993) (Kurdish) Directed by : Muwaffaq Ru�di
With Abdulsalam Sulaiman, et al
52. Bê Pelamar - The Pardon Seeker (1998) (Kurdish) Directed by : Nasir Saffar
With Sayid Jafar Xulami, Xulam �îrazî, et al
53. Melî Awat - The Wish Bird (1998) (Kurdish) Directed by : Qadrok
With Nasir Razazi, et al
54. Guman Nêkem Flanî - I do not doubt You! (1987) (Kurdish)
55. Ke�kol û Perleman - Hodgepodge and the Parliament, (1992)


10. Materialien zu Filmen von und �ber Kurden Kurdische Filme aus der T�rkei und aus dem Iran Filme von Kurden und Kurdinnen, entstanden in der Schweiz Schweizer Filme zum Thema Deutsche Filme zum Thema
11.Kurdische Filme aus der T�rkei und aus dem Iran

Yol. Der Weg Spielfilm von Yilmaz G�ney (T�rkei 1982) Vgl. G�neys Biografie und Filmografie sowie den Beitrag von Martin Schaub zu "Yol" als Schl�sselfilm und Verm�chtnis von G�ney.


Ein Lied f�r Beko Spielfilm von Nizammetin Aric (T�rkei 1993)
Desten me we bibin bask em e bifirin herin. Wenn unsere H�nde zu Fl�geln werden - fliegen wir .... Dokumentation, Navenda Canda Mezopotamiya (Mesopotamisches Kulturzentrum in Istanbul 1996), Originalversion: kurdisch und t�rkisch mit deutschen oder englischen Untertiteln, 27 Minuten Haci und Gule, ein altes kurdisches Ehepaar aus einem Dorf bei Nusaybin, leben mit ihrem taubstummen Sohn Haci in einem feuchten Kellerloch in Istanbul. Die Erinnerungen der Eltern werden erg�nzt durch Aussagen von Mahmut Sakar vom IHD, dem Menschenrechtsverein von Diyarbakir, sowie von anderen Fl�chtlingen.


G�nese yolculuk. Reise zur Sonne Spielfilm der t�rkischen Autorin Yesim Ustaoglu (Regie und Buch); Kamera: Jacek Petrycki; Darsteller: Mewroz Baz (Mehmet), Nazmi Qirix (Berzan) und Laiendarsteller; 104 Min.; T�rkei 1998, Behrooz Hashemian; Verleih Trigon Baden; Auszeichnungen: Blauer Engel und Friedensfilmpreis Berlin 1999, Preise in Istanbul und Ankara Zwei junge M�nner begegnen sich zuf�llig in Istanbul. Beide hoffen auf eine bessere Zukunft und versuchen, in der Grossstadt ein Auskommen zu finden. Berzan stammt aus einem kurdischen Dorf im �ussersten Osten und schiebt als fliegender H�ndler jeden Morgen seinen Karren mit Musikkassetten in die Stadt. Mehmed ist erst k�rzlich aus der Westt�rkei angekommen. Doch dann kommt Berzan bei einer Demonstration um. Mehmed, der sich bisher nicht darum gek�mmert hat, dass sein Freund Kurde ist, macht sich mit der Leiche auf eine Reise quer durch die T�rkei in die Heimat von Berzan. Elegisches Testament einer Freundschaft, welche st�rker ist als die politischen Wirren und der Tod.


Ax. Die Erde Regie: Kazim �z, Produktion: Navenda Canda Mezopotamiya (Mesopotamisches Kulturzentrum in Istanbul 1999), Videoversion: kurdisch / t�rkisch mit englischen Untertiteln, 27 Min. Der Kurzfilm Ax zeigt einen alten kurdischen Mann, der letzte �berlebende eines t�rkischen Dorfes. Dieser alte Mann geht durch sein entv�lkertes Dorf, erinnert sich an seine Familie, seine Freunde, an die Vertreibung durch das t�rkische Milit�r. Was ihm einmal wichtig war, ist verschwunden, gestorben, weggegangen oder zerst�rt. - Mit dem Film werden die massiven Zerst�rungen kurdischer D�rfer durch die t�rkische Armee an einem einzelnen Schicksal exemplarisch und eindr�cklich dargestellt. Wegen seiner politischen Brisanz wurde die �ffentliche Vorf�hrung des Films in der T�rkei verboten. Preis f�r den besten Kurzfilm in Milano 1999. Spezialpreis f�r die Vermittlung humanit�rer Inhalte in Hamburg 1999.


Boran Dokumentarszenen mit fiktiven Elementen. Von H�seyin Karabey, T�rkei 1999 Der Film erz�hlt die Geschichten von drei Verschwundenen (Hasan Ocak, D�zg�n Tekin und Ferhat Tepe) und ihren M�ttern. Die M�tter spielen in diesem Film sich selber. Die eine wartet zwei Wochen am Fenster vergeblich auf ihren Sohn. Die andere ist �berzeugt, dass ihr Sohn bei seinem gewaltsamen Tod sich in eine Taube verwandelte, die sie seither auf den Pl�tzen von Istanbul f�ttert. Die dritte Mutter eines der Verschwundenen sucht ihren toten Sohn in einer Kehrrichthalde. - Der Film erhielt am Festival von Antalya im Oktober 1999 die goldene Orange, den Spezialpreis des t�rkischen Kulturministeriums.
Le vent nous emportera Spielfilm von Abbas Kiarostami, Iran 1999. Besetzung: Behzad Dourani und Einwohner von Siah Dareh. Verleih: Filmcooperative Z�rich. Zusammen mit zwei Kollegen ist Behsad von Teheran in ein kurdisches Bergdorf gefahren. Dort soll er Material f�r eine Reportage �ber eine selten gewordene traditionelle Trauerfeier sammeln. Doch die uralte Frau, zu deren Ehre die Trauerzeremonie gegeben werden soll, will und will nicht sterben. Der Film ist eine Ode ans Leben, die Natur und das Sterben - und eine liebenswerte Satire �ber die ganz normale Bizarrheit der heutigen Welt. Er sei auf der Suche nach einem Schatz, erz�hlt der Reporter, doch mindestens einmal am Tag klingelt sein Handy und er f�hrt mit dem Jeep auf den n�chsten H�gel, um telefonieren zu k�nnen.


Zamani baray� masti asbha. A Time for Drunken Horses Regie, Buch: Bahman Ghobadi; Kamera: Saed Nikzat; Schnitt: Samad Tavazoee; Musik: Hossein Alizadeh; Besetzung: Ayoub Ahmadi, Rojin Younessi, Amaneh Ekhtiar-dini, Madi Ekhtiar-dini, Kolsolum Ekhtiar-dini, Rahman Salehi, Osman Karimi u. a.; Produktion: Iran/F 2000, Bahman Ghobadi/MK 2, 80 Min.; Verleih: LOOK NOW!, Z�rich. Der im Stil des Neorealismus erz�hlte iranische Film erm�glicht einen authentischen Blick in das Alltagsleben kurdischer Kinder an der iranisch-irakischen Grenze. Die Erz�hlkraft und die �berw�ltigende Sch�nheit der Bilder verbinden sich mit der hervorragenden Schauspielf�hrung der Kinder. Die Kamera bleibt nahe an den Figuren, als w�re sie ein Teil von ihnen. Ein aussergew�hnliches Werk �ber den bitteren Kampf des kurdischen Volkes. - Ab etwa 16.
Die Wandtafel Spielfilm von Samira Machmalbaf (Iran 2001)


12. Filme von Kurden und Kurdinnen, entstanden in der Schweiz

Esen Isik

Geboren 1969 in Istambul, 1990 Einreise in die Schweiz, 1992 - 97 HGKZ (Hochschule f�r Gestaltung und Kunst Z�rich), Studienbereich Film/Video
Filmographie Askin, 1993 (kurzer Dokumentarfilm) In den Keller, 1994 (kurzer Dokumentarfilm) Weggehen, 1995 (Kurzspielfilm) Linie 83, 1996 (Kurzspielfilm) �lmeye Yatmak - Sich zum Sterben hinlegen, 1997 (Kurzspielfilm) Babami Hirsizlar Caldi - Vaterdiebe - The Stolen Father, 1999 (Kurzspielfilm) Reise ohne R�ckkehr, 2001 (Kurzspielfilm)
Babami Hirsizlar Caldi. Vaterdiebe Regie, Buch: Esen Isik; Kamera: Pierre Mennel; Schnitt: Thomas Isler; Musik: Cihat Askin; Besetzung: Ali Can Altun (Meir�), F�sun Demirel (Mutter), Nurettin Sen (Vater), Dogac Yildiz (Serkan) u.a.; Produktion: Schweiz 1999, Dschoint Ventschr, 24 Min.; Verleih ZOOM Z�rich Der Vater des kleinen Meri� wird am helllichten Tag von der politischen Polizei verschleppt. Meri� kann nicht verstehen, dass ein Vater einfach verschwinden kann. Er fl�chtet sich in seine Phantasiebilder. Der Film erz�hlt mit den Augen eines Kindes glaubw�rdig von den traumatischen Erfahrungen, die Angeh�rige von Opfern politischer Gewalt erleiden.
Reise ohne R�ckkehr Regie, Buch: Esen Isik; Kamera: Jutta Tr�nkle; Schnitt: Kathrin Pl�ss; Musik: Cihat Askin; Besetzung: Sevine Yildiz, Stefan A. Kollmuss, F�sun Demirel u.a.; Produktion Schweiz 2000, Dschoint Ventschr, 40 Min. Die junge Untergrundk�mpferin Emine ist aus der T�rkei in die Schweiz gefl�chtet und wartet im Durchgangsheim auf ihren Asylbescheid. Hin- und hergerissen zwischen Erinnerungen an die Vergangenheit und dem Wunsch, ein neues Leben zu beginnen, entdeckt sie bisher unterdr�ckte Gef�hle und Sehns�chte. Sie verliebt sich in Peter, einen jungen Betreuer. Als Emine einen illegalen Fl�chtling im Heim betreut, wird ihre Gastfreundschaft auf eine harte Probe gestellt.


Ayten Mutlu

Geboren 1969 in P�l�m�r/TR.; 1993-97 Studium Journalismus und Kommunikationswissenschaften in Fribourg sowie Ethnologie und Religionswissenschaften in Fribourg und an der Freien Universit�t Berlin; 1994-96 Journalistische T�tigkeit in der Schweiz und in der T�rkei; 1997 Kamera- und Drehbuchkurse in Berlin; seit 1999 ESAV (Ecole Sup�rieure d'Art Visual Gen�ve).
Filmography Xerema Waye - Willkommen Schwester, 1997 (Dokumentarfilm) Kurdischer Zauberstab, 1998 (Dokumentarfilm) Das Leben ist wie ein Stein auf dem Ei. 2000 (Dokumentarfilm, zusammen mit Hanspeter Giuliani)
Das Leben ist wie ein Stein auf dem Ei Regie, Buch: Ayten Mutlu, Hanspeter Giuliani; Kamera: Adana Ndiayg, Arthur Manz; Schnitt: Daniel Gibel; Produktion: point de vue Basel (video@pointdevue.ch) Die Senegalesin Alima l�sst sich zur Heirat mit einem �lteren Schweizer �berreden, weil er ihr eine Ausbildung verspricht. Konflikte in der Ehe f�hren zur Trennung. Nach dem Tod ihres Mannes droht ihr die Ausweisung.
Mano Khalil Kurdischer Filmemacher, lebt seit 1996 in der Schweiz.
Solo Dance


Mano Khalil
Born in 1964, Kurd. 1981-86 Studies in History and Law (1981-86) at Damascous University. 1986-94 Studies in fiction film direction in the former Czechoslovakia. Since 1996 residence in Switzerland.

Filmography:(all documentaries)
1988 Oh World /Ax Dinya
1989 My Pain, my Hope /Esa Min Heviya Min
1990 Embassy /Qunsilxane
1991 Oh Father /Ya Xweda(all short films)
1992 My God / Bav
1993 The Place Where God Sleeps /Kurdistan Cihe Xwede Le Xew Kiriye
1995 Kinoeye /Sinema Cav
1998 Triumph of Iron | Slovak/Kurdish/Albanian/German/Italian/English (German subtitles), colour and b/w, BetaSP, 31 min.
Directed, Written,Cinematography by:Mano Khalil; Editing by:Giorgio Andreoli, Mano Khalil; Production and World Rights: Mano Khalil; World Premiere:June 1998; Awards:Swiss Film Prize, Best Short Film 2000 (Nomination)
Synopsis:It is hard to be a Kurd. It is bad luck to be a Kurd film director. It is bitter to be refugee Kurd film director. I lived in a refugee camp for two years with all kinds of people. I shot almost all of this film there, using a Hi-8 video camera operated by remote control.
(Source: http://www.swissfilms.ch/detail_f.asp?PNr=450)

"Demgegenüber steht der ans Gemüt gehende, aber in seiner Einfachheit auch erfrischende Kurzfilm über das Schicksal eines in einem Tessiner Flüchtlingsheim verödenden kurdischen Regisseurs. Mit «Triumph of Iron» von Mano Khalil blicken wir in den Alltag eines Flüchtlings, dessen unsinniges Warten («months later» und nichts hat sich verändert) an das auf Godot erinnert. In einem Intreview gesteht er, die Politik zu verachten, aber unausweichlich als Kurde verdammt dazu zu sein, politische Filme zu drehen. Die Missstände hier wie dort stellt er dar, verzichtet aber auf Vorschläge zu ihrer Behebung. Weiter betont er die Generalität der problematischen Situation des Flüchtlings. Das authentische Werk richtet sich daher an alle westeuropäischen Adressen. Für «Triumph of Iron» erhielt er am numinosen Samstagabend zurecht den UBS-Anerkennungspreis. Nicht weniger eindrücklich sind drei weitere Kurzfilme, die sich mit Problematik der Verfolgten und Fliehenden auseinandersetzen." (Christoph Albrecht)
1998-99 Sekeftina Hesin
1998-2000 Solo Dans Mano Khalil documents the demonstrations and protest actions of the Kurds in Berne, Basel, Geneva, Berlin and Rome after the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan. The 29 minute documentary contains the last interview with Abdullah Ocalan before his arrest.
Nach der Festnahme von Abdullah �calan dokumentiert Mano Khalil die Demonstrationen und Protestaktionen der Kurden in Bern, Basel, Genf, Berlin und Rom . Die 29min�tige Dokumentation enth�lt das letzte Interview mit Abdullah �calan vor seiner Festnahme.
(Source: http://www.medienheft.ch/kurdenkonflikt/4materialien.htm)
2001 Gala (Locarno 54. Screenplay Award)
Synopsis: Gala is the Swiss daughter of a Kurdish refugee from a short marriage. She decides to find her father after 28 years.


12. Schweizer Filme zum Thema

Reise der Hoffnung Spielfilm von Xavier Koller (Schweiz, Deutschland , Italien 1989), 110 Min., Kinoverleih: Columbus Z�rich Der einzige mit einem Oscar pr�mierte Schweizer Spielfilm erz�hlt mit den emotionalen Mitteln des Erz�hlkinos, wie ein kurdischer Bauer auf eine beschwerliche Reise ins Schweizer Exil aufbricht und dabei sein Kind und alle Hoffnung verliert.

Gest�ndnisse in Mamak Videodokumentation von Erich Schmid, Helena Vagni�re und Ren� A. Zumb�hl (Schweiz 1989), 47 Min.; Videoverleih ZOOM Die Autoren reisen in die T�rkei, um mit ihrer politischen Intervention die Massenprozesse gegen politische H�ftlinge und deren Aussagen �ber Folter und andere Misshandlungen zu dokumentieren.
Chronik einer angek�ndigten Ausweisung Dokumentarfilm von Marianne Pletscher (Schweiz 1991) Hungerstreik, Untertauchen und Ausweisung von kurdischen Asylbewerbern in der Schweiz w�hrend des Winters 1990/91.
Sertschawan. Willkommen bei meinen Augen Dokumentarfilm von Hans St�rm und Beatrice Leuthold (Schweiz 1992), 90 Min., Verleih Filmcooperative Z�rich �Sertschawan � Willkommen bei meinen Augen� (1992) ist wegen seiner dokumentarischen Geduld wohl einer der sch�nsten Filme �ber eine Ann�herung an die kurdische Kultur. Ihre Autoren, Hans St�rm und Beatrice Leuthold, wenden sich ab von der den Tod und das Leiden fixierenden Fernsehberichterstattung und suchen das Leben in den kurdischen D�rfern. Mit ihrer umst�ndlichen Filmapparatur stehlen sie der Gemeinschaft mit ihrem verletzbaren Gleichgewicht aus Natur und Kultur keine Bilder, sondern geben den Personen soviel Zeit, dass sie sich vor der Kamera in Szene setzen k�nnen, um den Schauenden dann ihre Bilder, ihre Erinnerungen und ihre M�rchen zu schenken.
JIYANA ME - Unser Leben Dorothea Keist und Christina Karrer (Schweiz 1993), 73 Min., Verleih ZOOM Z�rich Die Autorinnen portr�tieren vier kurdische Frauen: eine von ihren H�fen vertriebene B�uerin, eine in der Politik engagierte �rztin, eine politische PKK-Aktivistin im Basler Exil, eine Partisanin w�hrend ihrer milit�rischen Ausbildung. In ihren unterschiedlichen Kontexten erz�hlen sie �ber ihr Leben und reflektieren ihren Kampf f�r die eigene Freiheit und die ihres Volkes.


13. Deutsche Filme zum Thema Die Kurden. Ein Volk, das es nicht gibt TV-Dokumentation von Ulrich Tilgner und Thomas Giefer (D 1983)

Die Metzger Fernsehfilm vonMechthild Heckmann und Rosemarie Motzko (D 1997) Gerade erst hat die traditionsreiche Metzgerei Schm�lling ihre schwerste Krise seit ihrem Bestehen �berstanden. Ferdi, seine Frau B�rbel und seine Tochter Desiree wohnen nun in einer gepflegten Villa unter deutschen Mitb�rgern. Als Ferdi in seiner Villa Yilmaz, Semira und Jevjin Kaya �ber den Weg l�uft, ist er entsetzt: Kurden in seinem Haus, einquartiert von einer Mieterin, die ehrenamtlich f�r die Fl�chtlingshilfe arbeitet.
Die kurdische Anw�ltin Eren Keskin klagt an TV-Dokumentation von G�lsel �zkan und Ludger Pfanz (WDR 1999, 60 Min.)


15. LES CHANSONS DU PAYS DE MA MÈRE / AVAZHA-YE SARZAMIN-E MADARI-AM Iran 2002 / 35 mm / Couleur / 97 min
Réalisateur : Bahman Ghobadi; Scénariste : Bahman Ghobadi; Photographie :Saed Nikzat, Shahriar Assadi; Montage : Haydeh Safi-Yari. Interprètes : Shahaboddin Ebrahimi, Allah Morad Ashtiani, Faegh Mohamadi, Iran Ghobadi, Sa'adat Ghobadi, Rozhan Hoseini.

HEJAR

Dans les années qui suivirent la guerre entre l'Irak et l'Iran, pendant que l'Irak bombardait les régions kurdes, Mirza, un vieux chanteur kurdo-iranien accompagné de ses fils Barat et Audeh, musiciens, se met à la recherche de son ancienne compagne, Hanareh. Chanteuse elle aussi, elle s'est enfuie vers le Kurdistan irakien vingt-trois ans plus tôt avec Seyed. Tous deux faisaient partie de la troupe. Malgré cela, Mirza est toujours amoureux d'elle. Au début du voyage, Audeh se plaint de devoir laisser ses sept femmes et ses treize filles derrière lui, et Barat, encore célibataire, pense que ce voyage est une perte de temps. Mais Mirza leur cache la vérité: Haraneh a des problèmes et a besoin de lui. Pendant ce temps, le conflit entre l'Iran et l'IraK vient de se terminer. Les avions de Saddam Hussein sont prêts à lancer leurs projectiles sur les populations kurdes vivant en Irak. Des milliers de sans-abri cherchent refuge en Iran. Au milieu de ce chaos, Mirza tente de trouver des informations au sujet de Hanareh... Dans ce récit d'un peuple qui a toujours été dispersé et maltraité et qui est tellement habitué à la guerre que la guerre est devenue pour eux quelque chose de banal, la musique devient l'expression de la passion pour la vie.

Bahman Ghobadi
Né à Bané (Kurdistan iranien) en 1968, Bahman Ghobadi travaille à la radio et se joint à un groupe de jeunes cinéastes amateurs, à Sanandaj, avec qui il commence à faire des courts métrages. Il s'installe ensuite dans la capitale pour entamer, à la faculté de cinéma, des études qu'il abandonnera avant la fin. Entre 1995 et 1999, il réalise une dizaine de courts métrages qui obtiennent de nombreux prix dans différents festivals nationaux et internationaux. Parmi ses films, retenons: Encore la pluie avec la chanson (1995), Dang (1996), La Part du cahier (1996), Vivre dans le brouillard (1998), Les Mélodies de la fille des Steppes (1998), UN TEMPS POUR L'IVRESSE DES CHEVAUX (2000), Prix de la Caméra d'Or (meilleure première oeuvre) et de la critique internationale au Festival de Cannes.


16. 1st London Kurdish Film Festival 9– 15 November 2001 (Source: http://www.riocinema.ndirect.co.uk/kff01/index.htm)


FEATURE FILMS

BEYOND OUR DREAMS
Director: Hiner Saleem
Cast: Olivier Sitruk, Rosanna Vite Mesropian. France-Armenia-Italy 2000 / 100m
French and Kirmanji with English subtitles.
"Hiner Saleem's second feature tracks a young refugee couple's flight from Kurdistan to hopeful sanctuary in Paris, braving travails comic and tragic on their long, serpentine path. Already struggling toward an uncertain destination at the outset, childhood sweethearts Dolovan and Zara are first seen huffing across the frozen Caucasian Mountains. Not by choice: Saying "We have no country," Dolovan is resigned to the necessity of leaving their lifelong village in Mesopotamia, where ethnic strife has drawn a vicious line between local Kurds and their suddenly intolerant neighbours. Zara is more reluctant, and their odyssey starts very badly as her elderly parents, lagging behind, are lost to the elements."
(Dennis Harvey, Variety)
BLACKBOARDS (PG)
Director: Samira Makhmalbaf
Cast: Saeed Mohamadi, Bahman Ghobadi, Behnaz Jafari.
Iran-Italy-Japan 2000 / 80m
Sorani with English subtitles.
Iranian Kurdistan, near the border with Iraq. A group of itinerant teachers wander in search of pupils. After using their blackboards, which they carry on their backs, to take cover from an army helicopter, the group split up. One teacher, Saïd (Saeed Mohamadi), encounters an old man who asks him to read a letter from his son. Another, Reeboir (Bahman Ghobadi), meets a party of boys carrying contraband stolen goods to be smuggled across the border; he tries to persuade them to accept him as a teacher.
THE BOY WHO STOPPED TALKING
Director: Ben Sombogaart
Cast: Ercan Orhan, Halsho Hussain, Brader Musiki.
Netherlands 1997 / 108m
Kirmanji and Dutch with English subtitles.
Anyone who's ever experienced the upheaval and sadness that comes with leaving the place you've called home will appreciate the charm and candour of this heartfelt family tale. For young Memo, the concept of "home" is particularly significant since he's a Kurd, a minority constantly in search of a homeland and frequently dispossessed of the claims they stake. Memo is perfectly content with his village life: goofing around with his best friend Mustafa, tending the sheep and working as the local postman. But when Memo's father, Hüsnü, suddenly returns from Holland, Memo's life changes forever.
THE BURNING PARADISE
Director: Araz Rashid
Cast: Parosh Muharam, Vian Azad, Mostafa Ahmad
Sweden 1999 / 80m
Sorani with English subtitles.
A young veterinarian tries to help a wounded boy who has been shot by the Iraqi police as he tries to draw a swastika on Saddam Hussein's poster. They flee from the city to the liberated area. The veterinarian falls in love with the local mayor. This starts a conflict with her family. The conflict goes on until the Iraqi Army attacks the village.
GAS ATTACK
Director: Kenny Glenaans
Cast: Sherko Zen-Aloush, Benae Hassan, Robina Quereshi, Laurie Ventry, Morag Caulder
Br 2001 / 75m
in English.
A film examining the plight of asylum-seekers in Glasgow. Joint-funded by Channel 4 and Scottish Screen, the film explores the havoc wrought on Glasgow's Kurdish community by a lone terrorist, motivated by racism and armed with a supply of a deadly germ. It is launched amid continuing tension in the Sighthill area of the city, which saw the murder of F¦rsat Y¦ld¦z in August, followed by the stabbing of a second man two days later.
THE HERD (Sürü)
Director: Zeki Ökten / Y¦lmaz Güney
Cast: Tar¦k Akan, Melike Demirag, Tuncel Kurtiz.
Turkey 1978 / 114m
Turkish with English subtitles.
The film tells the story of a family of nomadic shepherds destroyed by their contact with modern civilization as they transport a flock of sheep by train to Ankara. The central figure in the film is the son who tries to heal the rifts caused by family vendettas and to adapt to modern society. Eventually he is destroyed - driven to inarticulate revolt and then promptly beaten and arrested - just as the old patriarch is swallowed up in the anonymity of sprawling present day Ankara.
JOURNEY TO THE SUN (15)
Director: Yesim Ustaoglu
Cast: Newroz Baz, Nazmi Kirik, Mizgin Kapazan.
Turkey-Netherlands-Germany 1999 / 104m
Turkish with English subtitles.
JOURNEY TO THE SUN's central focus is the relationship between Mehmet, a young Turk who has come to Istanbul to make a living, and the older and more astute Berzan, a Kurdish political activist on the lookout for new recruits to the Kurdish struggle for independence. As their friendship evolves and deepens, the extent of Berzan's political activism is unveiled. He is an active participant in demonstrations in support of Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike in a Turkish jail, and is also involved in recruiting young converts to Kurdish political groups.
THE PHOTOGRAPH(Fotograf)
Director: Kazim Öz
Cast: Feyyaz Duman, Nazmi Kirik, Mizgin Kapazan, Zülfiye Dolu.
Turkey 2000 / 66m
Turkish and Kirmanji with English subtitles.
An imaginatively shot and revealing film following the stories of two young men travelling to Turkish Kurdistan by bus. They sit next to each other, each of them hiding the reason for his journey from the other. Who are they? Where are they going? And why? A strange kind of proximity and warmth develops between the two of them. The road, the cigarettes and the discomfort they have shared leaves a trace that will reverberate after their paths have separated.
ROADBLOCKS
Director: Stavros Ioannou
Cast: Hussein Abdulah, Ahmet Guli, Falaha Hassan.
Greece 2000 / 98m
Sorani with English subtitles.
Greek documentary maker Ioannou's feature film tells the story of the desperate attempts of Kurdish refugees to cross Europe in a documentary fashion. In the opening scene, Huseyin from Iraqi Kurdistan crosses a river and minefield on his way across hostile Turkey to find his brother, Ahmet, who has vanished in Greece. Learning he left for Italy by an overcrowded rubber raft, Hussein calls his father and ask him to sell their house in the village to finance his search.The film does not "feature" actors who portray the truth of others' lives but rather follows unknown faces in their real adventures.
A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES(PG)
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Cast: Nezhad Ekhtiar-Dini, Amaneh Ekhtiar-Dini, Madi Ekhtiar-Dini.
Kurdistan-Iran 2000 / 80m
Farsi and Sorani with English subtitles.
In Iranian Kurdistan, very near the border with Iraq, five brothers and sisters live at subsistence level. The younger boy has a serious illness. The medicine he takes is expensive, and the doctor says he has to be operated on soon to have a chance of surviving. Despite the efforts of the eldest brother who takes on lots of odd jobs, the family is unable to pay for the operation. So, the elder sister accepts to marry an Iraqi who is prepared to give them financial help for the operation. However, the future spouse's family refuses to let the sick boy cross the border.
YOL (The Journey)(15)
Director: Serif Gören / Yilmaz Güney
Cast: Tarik Akan, Halil Ergün, Meral Orhonsay, Semra Uçar.
Turkey 1982 / 111m
Turkish with English subtitles.
The notoriously brutal Turkish prison system undergoes a rare moment of compassion in YOL. Five convicts are given a week's leave from jail so that they may visit their friends, families and lovers. Sadly, each of the men is confronted with tragedy, disillusionment or both upon arriving home. Writer Y¦lmaz Güney knew what he was talking about: he spent much of his adult life in prison for various political activities. Using the 'limited-leave' device as a launching pad, Güney uses the journey to savagely skewer many of Turkey's antiquated sociopolitical attitudes, notably the subjugation of women.

DOCUMENTARIES

ADANA - PARIS
Director: Ahmet Soner Turkey 1994 / 74m
Turkish with no subtitles.
In this documentary Ahmet Soner looks at the life of his former colleague, Yilmaz Guney. It starts from his birthplace, Adana, and ends in Paris.
GOOD KURDS BAD KURDS
Director: Kevin McKiernan USA 2000 / 78m / in English.
This documentary focuses on the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Turkey, one of the great human rights disasters of the 20th century, and one that receives virtually no attention. The film combines exclusive, one-of-a-kind war zone footage with the human interest story of an immigrant Kurdish family trying to find its way in Santa Barbara, California. The family includes an elderly mother, three sisters and five brothers. Two of the sisters still live in Turkey but far from their original village, which was destroyed by the army.
REFUSAL 1111
Director: Cüneyt Sekerci and Hasan Çimen Turkey 2001/ 22m
Turkish with no subtitles.
A documentary about conscientious objectors to conscription to the Turkish army.
SILENT DEATH
Director: Hüseyin Karabey Turkey 2001 / 85m
German, Italian and Spanish with English subtitles.
There are approximately 71,000 prisoners in Turkish prisons today. Among these, more than 10,000 are political prisoners. The Turkish Ministry of Justice has recently constructed F-type prisons - known as isolation cell system - in three locations. This documentary film aims to discuss and display European policies regarding prisons. Through different interviews made with political detainees and former prisoners in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the USA, the film tries to show that the European prison system and the isolation cell system all around the world is not the ideal as propagated by the Turkish authorities.

SHORT FILM PROGRAMME

THE LAND - AX
Director: Kazim Öz
Cast: Hikmet Karagöz and actors from Teatra Jiyana Nu.
Turkey Kurdistan 1999 / 27m
Turkish with English subtitles.
The story of an old Kurdish man, who insists on not leaving his village, from which the people are forced by the Turkish army, to migrate. The only thing left from the former active life is a dead silence and places full of memories.
DISPLACED VOICES
Director: Sevim Metin
Turkey 2001 / 17m in English.
A poetic documentary inspired by an ancient mythical character, Elikâ €evê, the genie who symbolized death and suffering in the imagination of Kurdish-Alevi villagers. In the poetic narrative of the film the imaginary genie comes back to life to tell her story and their's. Her's is one of destined destruction and prolonged suffering, their's is one of waiting and loss. The film displays the memorable landscapes of Anatolia and portrays the people who remained in its villages.
GRANDMA
Director: Özcan Alper
Cast: Nogay Alper, Burcu Ustabas, Ahmet Tabar.
Turkey 2000 / 25m / Hemsin with English subtitles.
At the Eastern Kaçkar Mountains, at 3,000 meters a Hemsin plateau: Susuzyurt. During the long August days every day is the same as the day before. Marte is a 13-year-old with a passion for horse riding. He falls in love with his neighbour's daughter, Lusnika. He shares his deepest secrets only with his blind friend and his grandmother.
IT'S WORTH IT…
Director: Aysel Özkan
Cast: Gerda Gmelin, Ferdinand Dux, Yasar Çetin. Germany / 15m
German with English subtitles.
A funny tale of an old German couple. So bored with their life in the old people's home, they decide to spice up their life by becoming petty criminals.
MAN WITH THE WHITE COAT
Director: Yüksel Yavuz
Cast: Murat Y¦lmaz.
Turkey 2000 / 15m
Turkish and Kirmanji with English subtitles.
One day, a scruffy looking man appears in Istanbul's streets. By doing odd jobs, he saves up to buy a white coat that makes him look even more mysterious than ever

17. 2nd London Kurdish Film Festival 15 – 28 November 2002 (Source: http://www.riocinema.ndirect.co.uk/kff02/index.htm)

FEATURE FILMS

ESCAPE TO PARADISE
Director: Nino Jacusso
Cast: Duzgun Ayhan, Fidan Firat, Walo Luond
Switzerland 2001 / 90m / Turkish with English subtitles
A Kurdish refugee family who are applying for political asylum in Switzerland are sent to an immigration centre. Their future will only be secure if they can present a convincing case. They turn to a Swiss man who claims he can supply them with the documents and stories which will convince the immigration authorities.
A HANDFUL OF GRASS
Director: Roland Suso Richter
Cast: Oliver Korittke, Arman Kuru, Lisa Martinek, Ercan Durmaz
Germany 1999 / 114m / Kirmanji and German with English subtitles
Ten-year-old Kendal lives in a poor Kurdish village. His uncle who is involved in drugs trafficking in Hamburg, takes Kendal to Germany. After his uncle is arrested, the boy is looked after by a German taxi driver, but eventually ends up in a children’s home. His uncle tracks him down, and Kendal soon begins work as a drug pusher.
HEJAR (Büyük Adam Küçük Ask)
Director: Handan Ipekci
Cast: Dilan Ercetin, Sukran Gungor, Fusun Demirel, Yildiz Kenter
Turkey 2001 / 120m / Turkish and Kurdish with English subtitles
This controversial – and recently banned – film was unanimously nominated to represent Turkey at the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category. At the film's heart is the relationship between a nationalist, authoritarian judge (Sukran Gungor) and a five-year-old Kurdish orphan (Dilan Ercetin). The judge, who is the girl's neighbour, takes her in following a botched police raid that results in the death of her guardian. HEJAR was the winner of several awards, including Best Picture, at Turkey’s prestigious Golden Orange Film Festival (2001). Also stars veteran theatre and film actress Yildiz Kenter.
HOUSE OF HEARTS
Director: Elizabeth Rygard
Cast: Bora Akkas, Mazlum Cimen, Sebnem Kostem
Germany 2002 / 88m / Turkish with English subtitles
A drama of separation seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old boy, Osman, whose parents leave Turkey to work in Europe. The drama is enveloped in the expressive Anatolian music, the overwhelming forces of nature and traditional poetry. Together they form some of the riches Osman carries in the suitcase that accompanies him to his new life.
INNOWHERELAND
Director: Tayfun Pirselimoglu
Cast: Zuhal Olcay, Parkan Ozturan, Michael Mendl
Turkey-Germany 2001 / 94m / Turkish with English subtitles
Forty year old Sukrun tries to keep her only son Veysel away from the political activism in which her late husband was involved, and which has brought the family so much suffering. But one day Veysel disappears and Sukran’s attempts to find him meet only with silence from the authorities.
IN THIS WORLD
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Script: Tony Grisoni
Cast: Jamal Udin Mommand, Enayatullah Jumadin
Britain 2002 / 89m
Jamal Udin Torabi is a young Afghan refugee seeking asylum in this country. Born in Peshawar in the North West province of Pakistan, Jamal and a fellow refugee, Enayatullah Jumadin, are the subjects of Michael Winterbottom’s compelling and all too relevant most recent feature. The film follows them as they set out to travel overland to London, passing through Iran, Turkey, Italy and France – an arduous and life threatening journey which offers constant reminders of the desperation that lies behind it.
JIYAN
Director: Jano Rosebiani
Cast: Kurdo Galali, Pisheng Berzinci, Çoman Hawrami
Kurdistan 2002 / 94m / Kurdish with English subtitles
Five years after the infamous chemical and biological bombing of Halabja, Diyari, a Kurdish/American Samaritan, returns to his homeland to build an orphanage in what is left of Halabja. During the course of his stay, he meets a colourful bunch of townfolk, many of whom remain physically and/or psychologically marked with the effects of the chemical agents. Among them is Jiyan, a ten year old orphan. A strong bond between the two ensues and later he names the orphanage after her.
LONG LIVE THE BRIDE… AND THE LIBERATION OF KURDISTAN
Director: Hiner Saleem
Cast: Georges Corraface, Marina Kobakhidze, Tuncel Kurtiz
France 1997 / 96m / French and Kurdish with English subtitles
Set inside the 100,000-population Kurdish community in Paris. Cheto seeks a wife via videotapes while still seeing his French girlfriend, immigration office worker Christine. Cheto places an order for a beautiful girl, but he's disappointed when her sister, country girl Mina, arrives at the airport as a substitute. Family pressure forces him to marry her. Unhappy with the way she's treated by Cheto, Mina acquires some progressive ideas from Leila and other local feminists, leading to confrontations with Cheto.
MAROONED IN IRAQ
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Cast: Allah-morad Rashtian, Faegh Mohammadi, Iran Ghobadi
Iran 2002 / 110m / Kurdish with English subtitles
The latest film from the director of A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES. An aging Kurdish singer, Mirza, persuades his two grown musician sons to accompany him on a mission into Iraq to locate his ex-wife, who, rumour has it, needs him. The journey takes them through a lawless land of bombs and bandits where the only policemen they encounter are handcuffed and in underwear. The film portrays the Kurds living on the border of Iran and Iraq not only as victims, but also as people who love music, life and children, and have a wicked sense of humour that enables them to survive persecution. Winner of the Best Film award at the Chicago Film Festival, although director Bahman Ghobadi turned down the award after the US authorities refused him an entry visa.
MEM AND ZIN
Director: Umit Elci
Cast: Meltem Doganay, Halil Ergun, Musa Anter, Fusun Demirel
Turkey 1991 / 90m / Turkish with English subtitles
During Kurdish New Year, Newroz, two brothers and two sisters go to the celebrations. Mem and Zin fall in love and exchange rings without ever knowing whether they will meet again. This story of two tragically separated lovers is also an allegory for the tragic fate of the Kurds, separated and denied.
A SILENT TRAVELLER
Director: Ibrahim Selman
Cast: Abdulkadir Yousif, Walid Hadji, Halima Sadik, Umet Ali. Bangin Abdulkadir, Said Ali
Netherlands / 92mins / 1994 / Kurdish with English subtitles
Conceived in Kurdistan, written in Holland and filmed in Greece, A SILENT TRAVELLER tells the story of life in a Kurdish village in South Kurdistan (Iraq), where the endless war between official forces and those fighting for a free Kurdistan leads to divided loyalties, killing and grief, even within families.
SIYABEND AND XACE
Director: Sahin Gok
Cast: Tarik Akan, Mine Cayiroglu, Yaman Okay, Yilmaz Erdogan
Turkey 1993 / 120m / Turkish with English subtitles
This film tells the love story of Xace and Siyabend. Siyabend is young and rebellious, an orphan brought up by his aunt. He leaves home and wanders around Kurdistan until he comes across Xace. Watch out for Yilmaz Erdogan in his first film role as Xace’s brother.
A SONG FOR BEKO
Director: Nizamettin Aric
Cast: Nizamettin Aric, Bezara Arsen, Lusika Hesen
Germany 1992 / 110m / Kurdish with English Subtitles
Nizamettin Aric made his directorial debut and also starred in the film, one of the first in Kurdish. Beko begins his long pilgrimage, in search of his brother, in Kurdish areas of Turkey, where he escapes arrest. Fleeing into Syria, this modern-day Odysseus then makes his way into the serenely beautiful highlands of the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Here, in a nomadic community caring for refugee children, Beko finds himself and a homeland.
TIREJ
Director: Halil Uysal
Editor: Ozgur Reyzan
Cast : Mehmet Emin, Harun Ahmed
Produced by: Martyr Sefkan Culture & Art School, Cinema Dept.
Kurdistan 2002 / 50m / Kurdish with English subtitles
A film written, directed and acted by real life guerrillas and based on a true story, this is perhaps the first feature made entirely by guerrillas. It tells the story of a clash with the Turkish army. After fierce fighting, two guerrillas survive and are encircled by the Turkish army. The war is seen from the perspective of the guerrillas. Will they survive? Will other guerrillas come to their rescue? What are their thoughts when they are fighting, and what will go into the diary of one of the guerrillas?
THE WIND WILL CARRY US
Director: Abas Kiarostami
Cast: Behzad Dourani and the inhabitants of Siah Dareh village
Iran 1999 / 118m / Kurdish and Farsi with English subtitles
A man from Tehran named Behzad drives with a camera crew to a remote Kurdish village clinging to the sides of two mountains. There, they secretly wait for an ailing 100-year-old woman named Mrs. Malek to die, apparently planning to film or tape the exotic traditional funeral ceremony they expect to take place afterward, during which some women mourners scratch and scar their faces. Behzad spends most of the movie biding his time in the village, circulating a false story, involving buried treasure, about the reason for his presence and chatting with a few locals – mainly a little boy named Farzad (Farzad Sohrabi), the old woman's grandson, who serves as his (and our) main source of information about the village.
WINTERFLOWER
Director: Kadir Sözen
Cast: Menderes Samanc¦lar, Meral Yüzgüleç, Cengiz Sezici
Germany 1996 / 107m / Turkish and German with English subtitles
Mehmut Umut, a Turkish immigrant whose residence permit has expired, is woken early one morning by the police and led away. He is deported from Germany the same day and sent back to Turkey. His wife and little son are left behind. Mehmet survives in Istanbul with temporary jobs as a warehouseman and waiter. He applies for an entry visa but when the application is rejected for no reason, he decides to go beyond the law and embarks on a dangerous journey.
YELLOW DAYS
Director: Ravin Asaf
Cast: Sandra Steffl, Hogar Tanya, Hama Ali Chan, Nur Surer
Germany 2002 / 85m / Kurdish with English subtitles
Thirteen year old "Devil" Pascha and his gang are always creating chaos in their village. No one escapes his cheeky pranks, be they the Mullah of the village, his mother or his sister. One day a German soprano singer visits the village to write her doctoral thesis. All the men of the village, including the feudal lord Ali Aga and the Mullah dream of marrying this golden haired angel. This gives "Devil" Pascha an opportunity to create even more mischief.

DOCUMENTARIES

AFTER
Director: Metin Yegin
Turkey 2001 / 24m / Turkish with English subtitles
About the longest hunger strike against F-type prisons in Turkey. To date, 74 people have died and hundreds of prisoners have become disabled as a result of contracting Wernico-Korsikoff disease.
CULTURAL IMAGE
Director: Yilmaz Demir
Britain 2002 / 5m / Kurdish with English subtitles
A look at the life of the Kurdish community in Hackney.
F
Director: Metin Yegin
Turkey 2001 / 64m / Turkish with English subtitles
The experiences of prisoners who survived the 19th December 2000 operation by the Turkish Security forces during the hunger strike against F-type prisons.
THE GAME
Director: Serhan Sahin & Burcu Sahinyavuz
Turkey 2002 / 26m / Kurdish and Turkish with English subtitles
The life stories of two young men who lost their lives on opposite sides of the same conflict are told by their grief-stricken mothers through the computer game Counter Strike.
KURDISTAN: OFF THE MAP
Director: Antonis Kioukas
Greece 2002 / 19m / Greek with English subtitles
This timely short documentary focuses on the plight of Kurdish people in Iraq during the aftermath of the Gulf war. It shows the brief euphoria felt by Kurds and how their hopes of independence were dashed when US failed to support their uprising.
LEYLA ZANA
Director: Kudret Gunes
France 2002 / 51m / Kurdish, Turkish and French with English subtitles
Leyla Zana, the first woman Kurdish MP to be elected to the Turkish Parliament in 1992, was impisoned in 1994 for 15 years for speaking in Kurdish in the Parliament. Kudret Gunes’ personal look at the life of Zana takes her to her birth-place, friends and exiled husband.
LIFE IN A DROP OF WATER
Director : Umit Elci
Turkey 2002 / 72m / Turkish with no subtitles
The treatment of prisoners and prison conditions in Turkey have resulted in regular hunger strikes in the last 20 years. This documentary focuses on the 1996 Hunger Strikes against the use of isolation cells in F-type prisons. It includes interviews with strikers, writers and activists like Ercan Kanar, Eren Keskin, Celal Baslangic and Oral Calislar. The film takes its name from the water pipette that was used to moisten the strikers lips.

SHORT FILM PROGRAMME 1

THE FORGOTTEN
Director: Mansur Tural
Kurdistan-France 2001 / 13m / French, Turkish and Kurdish with French subtitles
The film covers events of a day in which the time keeps changing constantly. A postman dong his round asks some questions.
DEAD ALIVE
Director: Mansur Tural
Kurdistan-France 2001 / 10m / Kurdish and French with no subtitles
A short film that explores the border between life and death, being and non-being: a world in which personal freedoms and social responsibilities are recognised as going hand in hand, and are indestructible.
HOPE
Director: Mansur Tural
Kurdistan-France 2002 / 18m / Kurdish with French subtitles
Hasan and Rojda are husband and wife. Because of the state terror, they flee from Kurdistan for France, while leaving their three children with Hasan’s brother in Kurdistan.
A BREATH OF DEATH
Directors: Lina Abdulkarim & Dilek Boztas
Britain 2002 / 7m / English
A brief informative piece which explains the basics of chemical bombing and what happened to the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.
THREE FIGURES OF A MOUNTAIN-MAN WHO WISHES HE WAS A SEAL
Director: Ibrahim Selman
Netherlands 1991 / 38m / Kurdish and Dutch with English subtitles
This television drama deals with the experiences of Ibu Kordo, a Kurd. On March 16, 1988 his hometown Halabja is bombed with chemical weapons by Iraq. When he comes back from a business trip he finds all the inhabitants lying dead in the streets, among the victims his own daughter. Ibu Kordo escapes Iraq and arrives in the Netherlands.

SHORT FILM PROGRAMME 2

RIGHTS OF PASSAGE
Director: Simon Brown
Producer: Maria Pavlou
Cast: Arsalan Nawroly, Dana Jalal, Hardi Rashid, Zolfa Afrazi, Karzan Krekar
Britain 2002 / 25m / Kurdish with English subtitles
Two Kurdish friends, Nawrol and Saman, arrive at the Sangatte refugee camp in Northern France on their way to England. That night they break into the nearby Channel Tunnel, and nearly succeed in jumping on a train. However, playing the hero, Nawrol stops to help a young kid, Mohammed...
TO STAY OR TO GO
Director: Resul Gultutan
Switzerland 2001 / 23m / Kurdish with English subtitles
War often drives families from their homelands. Children are often able to adapt to their new lives quickly unlike their parents who have difficulties in coping with many aspects of their new lives. But what really happens to the older members of the family?
BERIVAN
Director: Miraz Bezar
Germany 1995 / 12m / No dialogue
A day in the life of ten-year-old Berivan and her family. A family without a father. Her mother is working all day, so Berivan takes care of the household and her little brother.
It is a normal day. But in the evening, Berivan makes a decision.
BELLA AND REAL
Director: Borje Beratt
Sweden 2002 / 27m / Swedish and Kurdish with English subtitles
Real, an immigrant soccer team recruits a Swedish coach, to create order. All of the players want to play centre as their fathers also demand. Sammi, patriarch of a Kurd family has a son on the team and a daughter Bella with the impossible dream of becoming the goalkeeper.
DEATH IN EXILE
Director: Ayten Mutlu Saray
Switzerland 2002 / 27m / French and Kurdish with English subtitles
Khalil, a Palestinan refugee who grew up in Algeria, is in prison waiting to be deported. Memories of his homeland accompany him during this long wait. The story of the film is based on the real case of Khalil Abuzarifeh who died in Zurich on 3rd March 1999 while awaiting deportation from Switzerland.


18. Introduction by Bahman Ghobadi / Welcome to the 2nd London Kurdish Film Festival!

Nothing is more pleasurable than having an all Kurdish cast and crew when making a full-length feature - Kurdish players, assistants and production group - especially if they are from the mountainous areas of Kurdistan. You speak in Kurdish to everyone involved and the script and dialogue are in the same language.
It is, at the same time, a shame and depressing that one hundred years after the birth of cinema, we do not have a branch called "Kurdish cinema", despite everything I have just mentioned.
A strange thing has happened in the Kurdistan of today: there are fewer parents wishing their children to become engineers or doctors, but most of them wish their children to be film makers. Today in Kurdistan more than two hundred young Kurdish boys and girls are busy learning the art of filmmaking. In the street where I live, there are twelve of these filmmakers. A friend of mine, who was a taxi driver, has now sold his taxi, bought a film camera and is making a film.
You can find the best short films of the present day among the young Kurdish filmmakers in Kurdistan. Iran's Kurdistan province is in the top flight of short-film making. You can see the camera and the filming group in the richest and poorest parts of the province and it has become a matter-of-fact, everyday event in the lives of the people. People will even come to you to see if you need help and residents in the area will even bring us tea from nearby houses.
It is strange and I am happy too that during the making of two full length films so many good things happened to me in Kurdistan. This of course has nothing to do with Bahman Ghobadi, it is the nature of the cinema. It is a magical potion that has enchanted the Kurds. These days you do not see anyone with a weapon in their hands, but the camera, the greatest cultural weapon of our age, has replaced the gun.
More interesting is the fact that I have been receiving a number of letters inviting me to various Kurdish festivals world-wide, in England, Argentina, Iraq, Turkey, Germany, etc. I hereby congratulate all my friends who are energetically following up such important events. I hope that I can make two three full-length Kurdish films in the next few years and witness the display of twenty to thirty Kurdish films in such festivals.
Bahman Ghobadi (Behmen Qobadí)
Bahman Ghobadi was born in 1 February 1968, Bané, Eastern Kurdistan (Iran)

19. Songs of My Homeland by Bahman Ghobadi
Summary by Kirk Honeycutt, Apr. 24, 2002
CANNES -- Having greatly expanded and deepened our understanding of Kurdistan two years ago with his brilliant "A Time for Drunken Horses," Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi floors us again with "The Songs of My Homeland" (Avazhaye Sarzamine Madariyam). As if to emphasize that he is, in a sense, telling the same amazing and troubling story, this film ends with exactly the same image as his last.
Kurdistan, which straddles the Iran-Iraq border, is less a nation than a people in constant chaos. Few know its terrain better than Ghobadi. More importantly, no one possesses his mastery of cinema to record its triumphs and tragedies in all their sad yet often hilarious absurdity.

This film too should make its way through the international art house circuit and, just as "Horses" did, continue to replay itself in the minds of viewers long after the final image fades.
"Songs" is a road picture. But what a road! After the Iran-Iraq war, bombing continues in Kurdistan. An aging Kurd singer, Mirza (Shahab Ebrahimi), persuades his two grown musician sons into accompanying him on a mission into Iraq to locate his ex-wife, who, rumor has it, needs him.
The journey takes them through a lawless land of bombs and bandits, where the only policemen encountered are handcuffed and in underwear. Yes, they too have been robbed.
The trio meets a wily old man, apparently a doctor, who sees the war as a business opportunity. He peddles everything from Japanese radios to AIDS medicine, which he insists is to cure a donkey disease. They visit a movable tea shop, which uproots every time bombing resumes. A group of schoolchildren charms them until they realize all are war orphans.
The trip is accompanied by the constant sounds of jets overhead and distant explosions. Later, in a desolate wasteland, wind howls nonstop and snow is everywhere.
One son, Audeh (Allah-morad Rashtian), seeks another wife. He already has seven -- along with 13 daughters -- but is desperate for a new wife who might give him a son. The other son, Barat (Faegh Mohammadi), falls in love with the beauty of a young woman's voice and offers to marry her. But she remains aloof until a tragic discovery.
The portrait Ghobadi paints is of a people always mobilized by war, so accustomed to suffering and grief that their sense of survival dictates a measured response to all tragedies. Nevertheless, in their music and humor one finds surprising joy.
Working with nonprofessional actors, Ghobadi lets them essentially play themselves. All are completely relaxed around a camera, delivering natural, buoyant performances that put to shame the very idea of acting schools. They argue, sing, play music and struggle against ridiculous odds without giving any of it a thought. Their very existence is an up-yours to all the Saddams, warlords and bandits who prey upon them.
The landscape, beautifully captured by Saeed Nikzad's cinematography, changes dramatically during the journey from a hardscrabble, bomb-ruined terrain to a blanket of unrelieved white in snowy highlands. The characters' wry humor and zestful music in this unforgiving environment contain the essential contradiction of Kurdish life today: Everything is mad and yet the celebration of life continues.
THE SONGS OF MY HOMELAND 110 minutes: MIJ Film
Screenwriter-producer-director: Bahman Ghobadi; Director of photography: Saeed Nikzad; Music: Arsalan Kamkar; Editor: Hayedeh Safiari
Cast: Mirza: Shahab Ebrahimi, Audeh: Allah-morad Rashtian, Barat: Faegh Mohammadi, Hanareh: Iran Ghobadi


20. Jhíyan (Jiyan) by Jano Rosebiani
Official Site: Jiyan
Jhíyan (Jiyan)
Kurdistan 2002 / 94min Produced by Evini Films
Written,Directed and Edited by: Jano Rosebiani Cinematography by: Koutaiba Al Janabi;
Cast: Kurdo Galali, Pisheng Berzinci, Çoman Hawrami

A self-taught Kurdish filmmaker, born and raised in the Kurdish town of Zakho in the Southern region of Kurdistan. As a Kurd under the rule of Saddam’s tyrannical regime Rosebiani’s future looked dim. In 1974, then a seventh-grader, he along with his family joined the Kurdish mass uprising and took to the mountains. Two years later he became a refugee in the Untied States.
Rosebiani acquired his knowledge of film making during his college years in the mid eighties while managing movie theaters in Washington DC. He made experimental videos at a public access television in Northern Virginia, including a feature-length drama and a weekly program for which he received local and national awards. In 1988 he moved to Los Angeles with his first written script, and in 1995 he made his feature film debut with "Dance of the Pendulum," - an intellectual dark comedy parodying exploitation in Hollywood.
“Jiyan” (life) is his first Kurdish film and the first installment of a trilogy intended to be a window to the world through which viewers are invited to see a glimpse of the Kurds, their daily life, their culture and their folklore and most importantly, their human rights dilemma. “Jiyan” was shot in January and February of 2001 in the liberated, US/UK-protected region of Kurdistan. Postproduction was completed in Brussels, Belgium in January of 2002. Since then the film has been touring the festival scene worldwide and has garnered a few awards along the way.
Rosebiani’s second installment, "The Smile" focuses on Saddam’s Anfal genocide campaign in Kurdistan in the late 1980s.Jano Rosebiani Filmography
1995 Dance of the Pendulum-
2002 Jiyan-
The Smile- in development

Directors Notes: In JIYAN I am dealing with death and destruction, the flip side of which is life itself. For a Kurd life equates survival in the face of endless odds. It necessitates an ongoing struggle against the evils within the human heart. The humans in question are the immediate neighbors and occupiers whose treatment of the 40 odd million Kurds is anything but humane.
The infamous gassing of the Kurds in 1988 left an estimated 5000 dead and over 9000 maimed or deformed, all in a matter of a few minutes. One couldn't harm that many flies in such a short time, but yet Saddam did it and still lives to brag about it at his private banquets.
JIYAN is loosely based on testimonial accounts of the survivors, some of whom had lost their family members to the chemical attack. The mention of my plans to take their stories to the world brought tears to their eyes.
A handful of the survivors took part in the film, playing themselves. Such as the woman who had lost all her family and her sight to the chemicals. I found her begging in the market place, and the stuttering man who plays the father proposing for a girl's hand for his son. The next day he showed me a photograph of his real and only son who had died during the attack. I was speechless.
The Kurds are a colorful people, full of life despite the tragedies befalling them. Being indigenous to their region, they possess a rich culture which they have managed to preserve for a few thousand years. They thrive on poetry, music and dance, and with that comes romance. There are two love stories running parallel, one involving Jiyan herself, and there is even a wedding.
JIYAN is a popular female name in Kurdistan. It means life. Therefor Jiyan, the ten-year old orphan, is a representative of life, or rather life itself, though bruised as half of her face was burned by acid during the chemical attack.
My ultimate goal for JIYAN is to be a window to the world through which one can see a glimpse of the Kurds, of their daily life, their culture, their folklore and, most importantly, their human rights dilemma.

Review By Gareth Evans
Intended as the first part in a trilogy examining contemporary Kurdish experience, self-taught film-maker Rosebiani’s powerful and moving feature tackles head-on one of the most violent episodes in the ongoing oppression of his beleaguered people. On March 16 1988, 5,000 Kurdish residents of Halabja, in what was then northern Iraq, were killed during a chemical and biological weapons attack by Saddam Hussein’s airforce. The film opens five years on, with the Kurdish-American Diyari returning to the region to build an orphanage in the town. His stay reveals the degree of physical and psychological trauma in the community, but there are also signs of restoration and fragile hope. His friendship with two children, primarily the ten-year-old Jiyan, offers them some indication that a positive future might be possible. As shot by London-based DP Koutaiba Al Janabi, the film is at once intimate and expansive, detailing the cycle of hard lives against an unrelenting, challenging but also bleakly beautiful landscape. And, with some of the performers coming from the very area depicted, it’s an authentic, compassionate and valuable expression of witness, memory and shared humanity.


(posted March 06,2002 / Last Revised January 19,2003)

Copyright ©1996 - 2003 Turkish Cinema Newsletter, Washington D.C.

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