Turtles Can Fly (Lakposhtha Hâm Parvaz Mikonand) (2004)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Jun-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Edukators, The Beat My Heart Skipped, To Be & To Have
Trailer-Since Otar Left
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 94:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bahman Ghobadi

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Soran Ebrahim
Avaz Latif
Saddam Hossein Feysal
Hiresh Feysal Rahman
Abdol Rahman Karim
Ajil Zibari
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Hossein Alizadeh

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Kurdish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    During any campaign of war, the public are supplied limited and selective information from governments who are desperate to show a positive and competent operation. But if the first casualty of war is the truth, then the second must surely be the innocent. Turtles Can Fly tells the story of these innocent, namely orphaned Iraqi children, as they prepare for the impending U.S. led invasion of their country.

    This Iran-Iraq co-production is as bold and confronting as it is deeply moving and rich in sublime beauty. Written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi (A Time For Drunken Horses), Turtles Can Fly was the first film to be made in Iraq after the country's occupation and was selected as the Iranian entry in the Best Foreign Film category for the 2004 Academy Awards.

    As you might expect many obstacles were placed in the path of the production. It took three months to gain the relevant approvals to film in the required locations, as well as difficulties in raising the necessary funds. Above all, the aspect of this film that is truly remarkable is the fact that non-actors were used in key roles, delivering simply astonishing results. The high emotional impact of the film could not have been better realised with seasoned, professional actors.

    Turtles Can Fly is set within a small community of Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq, close to the Turkish boarder. Spirits are cautiously high with the news of the imminent invasion by American troops and the subsequent end of Saddam's evil reign.

    The community's quest for more information has led those with the resources to seek adequate antenna strength to pick up transmissions from foreign television networks. The only person in the village with the necessary knowledge of such things is thirteen year old Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) - leader of the orphaned children. Satellite gained his name because of his amazing knowledge about antenna and satellite dish installations.

    He installs a dish for the local elders, who act as the eyes and ears for the community in all matters of information. The problem is none of the elders have an understanding of the English language, which makes deciphering information from CNN rather difficult. Satellite has convinced the elders that he has an understanding of the language and can translate the information, but he secretly obtains his information from another source.

    Another three orphan refugees arrive into the community. Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) manages very well despite the fact he has no arms. He also experiences cryptic and often frightening visions of the future. It is these visions that provide Satellite with the information he then provides to the elders about the invasion. Hengov's sister also provides more than a passing interest for Satellite, but other matters consume her mind.

    Hengov's sister, Agrin (Avaz Latif), is about fourteen years of age and is incredibly sombre for someone of her young years. She obviously feels the heavy burden of caring for three year old Riga (Abdol Rahman Karim). Young Riga is blind; Agrin and Hengov must tether a rope to his foot in order to keep him from constant mischief. These three orphans keep a certain distance from the rest of the group, while still benefiting from the security from within the close community.

    Satellite organises the orphans in the dangerous practice of collecting the many landmines that litter the barren landscape. This and the collection of empty shells provide an income for the children; the collected mines are sold and traded on the black market.

    The respect and admiration the children have for their leader is quite poignant. Satellite is the parental figure so essential to the orphans and he always has their welfare at heart. When Riga breaks his restraints and wanders into a minefield, Satellite's strong leadership qualities and dedication to the orphans comes to the surface.

    Meanwhile, Hengov's haunting visions give hidden glimpses into a cruel and daunting world. Soon revelations of sorrow and overwhelming responsibility bubble to the surface and annihilate any vestige of innocence remaining from a troubled childhood.

    Turtles Can Fly is a solemn, but very rewarding film experience. The performances from the young and non-professional cast are simply brilliant.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer for Turtles Can Fly is very hard to fault.

    The film is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness and clarity of this transfer is quite exceptional and is close enough to reference quality. Blacks were superb and showed no signs of low-level noise. Shadows were also outstanding and displayed incredible detail.

    The colour usage in the film is suitably soft and muted. Colours are beautifully rendered on the DVD with no adverse issues whatsoever.

    There are no MPEG artefacts on this DVD. I noticed some very trivial instances of edge enhancement and some minor grain during a couple of darker scenes. These examples were really insignificant and even mentioning them is being quite pedantic - they don't impact on the very high quality of this video transfer in any way. Film artefacts were non-existent.

    The only available subtitles are English, which are burnt into the print and can't be excluded from viewing. These subtitles are easy to read in bold white.

    This is a single sided, single layer disc, so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer is perfectly suited to the content of the film and avoids any heavy-handedness.

    There is one audio track on this DVD; Kurdish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    While I can't directly comment on the quality of the dialogue, it did sound bold and clear throughout the film. Audio sync also appeared to be very accurate.

    The original music score by Hossein Alizadeh is truly haunting and perfectly sustains the atmosphere of the film.

    The surround channels provided sensible audio enhancement to the film without excess. The wonderful use of ambient sound flowed from the surrounds to immerse the viewer in the scene. Highlights include a market scene early in the film, the rumble of distant thunder at 21:12 and an empty shell disposal at 28:43.

    The subwoofer emphasized bass elements in the music score as well as the occasional direct effect, such as an explosion at 32:16.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Unfortunately, this DVD is very light on extras.

    The menu is static and very basic. It features a looped sample of the film's music score and is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

    Turtles Can Fly (1:47)   

Photo Gallery

    A collection of twenty images both from the film and behind-the-scenes.

More From Palace Films

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of Turtles Can Fly also presents the film in the correct aspect ratio, but it only features a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Both versions feature English subtitles exclusively. The only extra available on the R1 version is four trailers for other films.

    The local all region version is the clear winner of the two.


     As the political rhetoric in Iraq is slowly consumed by the reality, survivors of Saddam's evil tyranny must now face the real possibility of civil war. Turtles Can Fly is a timely reminder that the innocent are always the true casualties.

    The video transfer is first class.

    The audio transfer is perfectly suited to the content.

    The lack of significant extras is the only downfall.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Monday, April 24, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE