Kurdish Films / page 1

    “Kurdish cinema is like a pregnant woman. One must help her to give birth.” (Bahman Ghobadi)

    There are lots of films dealing with Kurds in one way or another, though not all of them in Kurdish
    language.

    Films by Kurdish directors:

    Yilmaz Guney

    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.

    YOL (The Journey)

    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.

    Bahman Ghobadi

    A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES

    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.

    MAROONED IN IRAQ

    Director: Bahman Ghobadi
    Cast: Allah-morad Rashtian, Faegh Mohammadi, Iran Ghobadi
    Iran 2002 / 110m / Kurdish with English subtitles

    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.

    TURTLES CAN FLY (Kusî Jî Dikarin Bifirin)

    Director: Bahman Ghobadi
    Cast: Avaz Latif, Soran Ebrahim, Hirsh Feyssal, Saddam Hossein Feysal,
    Abdol Rahman Karim
    Iraq-Iran 2004 / 95m / Kurdish with English subtitles / 15

    Bahman Ghobadi's third feature film after A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES and
    MAROONED IN IRAQ is set in a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, on the border between
    Iran and Turkey, where the villagers desperately seek a satellite dish antenna in
    order to keep updated on the impending attack of the Americans in Iraq. Coming from another village
    with his younger sister and her child, a mutilated boy has a foreboding: the war is getting closer and
    closer... TURTLES CAN FLY won the main prize at the San Sebastian Film
    Festival in September. "Ghobadi displays a complete command of his art as he shifts between - and
    even blends - wrenching tragedy and amusing comedy." (Variety)

    HALF MOON (Nive Heyve)

    Director: Bahman Ghobadir
    Cast: Ismail Ghaffari, Allah Morad Rashtiani, Farzin Sabooni, Kambiz Arshi, Sadiq Behzadpoor, Ali
    Ashraf Rezai, Reza Haj Khosravi, Mohamad Nahid, Bahram Zarei Hedieh Tehrani, Golshifteh
    Farahani, Hassan Poorshirazi. South Kurdistan (Iraq)-Iran-Austria 2006 / 114m / Kurdish with
    English subtitles / 15

    Saddam has fallen and Mamo, a renowned Kurdish musician, begins
    a journey to Iraq with his sons to perform a concert. An old friend drives
    the minibus that picks up Mamo's sons one by one. Although one son
    tells of the dire predictions of his village elders if the journey continues,
    Mamo is determined to carry on. Borders are crossed, difficulties are
    faced and the journey becomes both an adventure and an exploration.
    This outstanding new film from Bahman Ghobadi (TURTLES CAN FLY) won the top prize at the San
    Sebastian Film Festival together with awards for writing and photography.

    Hiner Saleem

    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.

    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)

    VODKA LEMON (Vodka Leymûn)

    Director: Hiner Saleem
    Cast: Romen Avinian, Lala Sarkissian, Ivan Franek
    France-Italy-Switzerland-Armenia 2003 / 90m / Armenian, Kurdish
    with English subtitles / PG

    Hiner Saleem's gentle tragi-comedy tells of Hamo, an ageing
    widower, who finds love in, of all places, a cemetery. But it's also
    the story of his tiny Kurdish village – a remote, snowbound outpost
    where the real and the surreal agreeably co-exist. With his wife in
    the ground, his only hope rests in an adult son who has immigrated
    to France. Saleem surrounds his protagonists with a colourful gallery of eccentrics. The real star,
    though, is the rugged, mountainous landscape: a winter wonderland that will have you blinking in
    chilly awe. The marvel is that Saleem finds human empathy and alcohol-fuelled bonhomie
    flourishing in such a forbidding and melancholy wilderness.” (BBCi Films)

    KILOMETRE ZERO

    Director: Hiner Saleem
    Cast: Nazmi Kirik, Belçim Bilgin, Eyam Ekrem, Ehmed Qeladizeyi, Nezar
    Selami. France-South Kurdistan (Iraq) 2005 / 96m / Kurdish with English
    subtitles / 15

    Iraq 1988. Young husband and father Ako is forced to join Saddam Hussein’s
    army. The unwilling soldier dreams of fleeing the country, but his wife Selma
    refuses to leave while her old bedridden father is still alive. Ako is sent away to the frontline of the
    Iran-Iraq War, where he experiences not only the reality of war but, because of his Kurdish
    background, also abuse from all sides. Desperation calls for desperate measures.

    Jalal Jonroy

    DAVID AND LAYLA

    Writer/Director: Jalal "Jay" Jonroy
    Cast: David Moscow, Shiva Rose ,Callie Thorne, Peter Van
    Wagner, Polly Adams, Ed Chemaly, Will Janowitz, Hany
    Kamal, Yousef Kamal. US 2006 / 108m / in English
    (some Kurdish, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles)


    Star-crossed lovers David & Layla: Romeo & Juliet in New
    York with a twist - spice, comedy & politics...via Iraq,
    Kurdistan & Jerusalem!
    From an impossible romance, a hope (a fantasy!) for
    peace. Inspired by a true story: A "Political Romantic
    Comedy" about the sparks that fly when a Jew and a Muslim fall in love in New York. David becomes
    smitten with the voluptuous Layla- a mysterious, sensual dancer. Layla turns out to be a Muslim
    Kurdish refugee. Layla must choose: Dr. Ahmad or David? Will David and Layla follow their hearts to
    blast through centuries of religious animosity? Fairly dubbed as a “Political Romantic Comedy”,
    David and Layla is the first Kurdish American film that maybe headed for the Guiness Book of World
    Records by being an Official Selection in several International film festivals, including Conflict
    Resolution and Human Rights fests, as well as Romance and Amour fests!

Kazim Oz

    AX (Land)  

    Director:Kazim Oz / Turkey / 1999

    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.

    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.

Halil Uysal

    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?

    TALL MIRROR (Eyna Bejnê)

    Director: Halil Uysal
    Cast: Sabriye fke, Hevi Sanoger, Tofan Silan, Sadik Cudi
    Kurdistan 2002 / 100m / Kurdish with English subtitles /

    An exploration of the daily life of the Kurdish guerillas through
    the eyes of a child called Sakine. The mountain guerillas
    attempt to bring a mirror from a nearby village as a birthday
    present for Sakine. The ensuing journey with four guerillas is
    a journey of discovery for Sakine and she makes friends with them. A mirror held up to the life in the
    mountains.

    BERITAN

    Directors: Halil Uysal, Jinda Baran, Dersim Zeravanr
    Cast: Beritan Cûdi, Jinda Baran, Rubar Qamislo, Ömer Harran,
    Jinda Wan, Nugayla, Beritan Boran, Gesbun, Sterk Amed, Dersim
    Zeravan, Xebat Serhat, Rezan Iran, Andok Amed, Ahin Qubani,
    M.Emin, Bager Mardin, Raperin, Hasan Afrin, Erkan Safir. South
    Kurdistan (Iraq) 2006 / 180m / Kurdish (Kurmanji) and Turkish

    Filmed in the Kurdish mountains and acted by real guerrilla fighters, this
    is the true story of Kurdish heroine Gülnaz Karatas, nickname Beritan,
    who joined the Kurdish resistance movement. She was both a poet and
    a resistance fighter who also fought the wrong doings committed by
    some commanders within the PKK's military wing, before dying a heroic death, throwing herself off a
    cliff after running out of ammunition.

    Mano Khalil:

    COLOURFUL DREAMS (Xewnên Rengîn)

    Director: Mano Khalil
    Cast: Hasa H. Inan, David Imhoof, Max Rüdlinger, Sandra
    Forrer, Rezan Cetin
    Switzerland 2003 / 60m / Kurdish with English subtitles

    COLOURFUL DREAMS could be the story of every artist who
    has great dreams - dreams which are difficult to translate
    into reality and often fade like spring blossom blown away in the wind. It could also be the story of a
    people who, having lost their homeland, can no longer find peace of mind.

    Jano Rosebiani

    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.

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