Turtles Can Fly

Synopsis: On the Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border, the boy Satellite is the leader of the kids. He commands them to clear and collect American undetonated minefields in the fields to sell them in the street market and he installs antennae for the villagers. He goes with the local leader to buy a parabolic antenna to learn the news about the eminent American invasion but nobody speaks English and Satellite that knows a couple of words is assigned to translate the Fox News. When the orphans Agrin and her armless brother Hengov and the blind toddler Riga come from Halabcheh to the camp, Satellite falls in an unrequited love for Egrin. But the girl is traumatized by a cruel raid in her home, when her parents were murdered and she was raped. She wants to leave Riga behind and travel with her brother Hengov to another place, but he does not agree with her intention.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Bahman Ghobadi
Production: IFC Films
  23 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min

Kurdistan, Iraq - Turkish border

A few weeks before the US-Iraq war.


Written and Directed by

Bahman Ghobadi

Pashow, tell my dad

to turn the antenna to the right!

Esmaeel, to the right, the right!

Your son says to the right.

Pashow, tell my dad

to turn it to the left!

Ali, to the left, to the left!

It has noises.

There's no image.

Look what Saddam has done to us!

We have no water, no electricity,

and no schools.

They have deprived us from the sky.

They don't let our TVs work to see

when the war will start.

Is it you Satellite?

Hey, is it you Satellite?

Yes, what is it?

I need some rope.

Come back tomorrow!

- I need it now.

- I said tomorrow!

I said I need it now.

All right, fine!

How much do you want?


Satellite, come here for a minute!

My name is Soran.

Everyone calls me Satellite.

Sit down!

I know this girl.

She is from Halabcheh.

Halabcheh?! How do you know?

I know! Her parents were killed.

They came to the village yesterday.

They want to go to the border

with the rest of the refugees.

She has a brother who went

on the mines. He lost his arms.

He hit Abdolrahman with his head.

His nose started to bleed.

He hit him like this.

- Don't tell anyone!

- Okay.

Why didn't you give me the rope?

Only 2 or 3 meters was left.

I'll give you more later.

- How much shall I pay?

- No! Don't even mention the money.

- But I have to pay.

- No! See you later!

Thank you!

Come to me if you need anything!

Hey, what are you doing?

Why aren't you turning

the antenna? Turn it!

Esmaeel, I'm tired.

You can't get pictures

with this antenna.

I swear you won't ever get pictures

in this village with this antenna.

I said you should buy a satellite.

A satellite!

The village governor says

the satellite is prohibited.

Don't say that! The sexy and dance

channels are prohibited, not the news.

I installed satellites

for all the villages around here.

Do you know "Sargolli" village?

With just 20 families,

they bought a satellite!

- They did?

- Yes!

How strange!

You are 70 families here,

why don't you buy one?

It's bad for your reputation!

But we are only 30 families. Just 30!

What about the houses on that side?

Now they are in Turkey.

They have separated us. They won't

let them pay for the satellite.

Your wife was from that side.

Now you're strangers?

They have separated us.

Not long now before USA comes!

What's USA?

USA means America.

Have you seen the movie Titanic?

Titanic, Washington, San Francisco,

Bruce Lee, Zinedine Zidane.

Zeinedin Zeidan is not American.

He is not American.

He's French and a Muslim.

I know him well.

- Hello!

- Hello!

- Where is this car going?

- It's going to Arbil.

Let's go!

Are you an Iranian Kurd?

Yes! I am an Iranian Kurd,

and a doctor.

Why have you come to Iraq

in this chaos?

This is the fourth time I've come.

I come, I go. I come, I go.

I'm looking for an orphan.

I think he's from Arbil.

He's driven me nuts.

I don't know where to find him.

I know him.

I know as well too doctor.


How do you know me?

We were sitting in the same car

a few months ago.

You were going to Solaymaneyeh

from Kirkuk, looking for the orphan.


How do you know him?

You're looking for the boy,

who makes predications, right?

Yes, do you have news of him?

I do and I don't, "I don't know."

- What does "I don't know" mean?

- It's chaos everywhere.

"I don't know" means I have no idea.

- Are you pulling my leg?

- No, I know him.

Don't listen to this boy!

It's all lies.

That boy is very important.

He makes predictions.

These days money is in the news.

My God!

Have you come from Iran for that?

What are you saying?

War! The world is at war.

Everybody's after news.

The boy is lying!

Buy a satellite to get the news.

A satellite? What for?

It's all lies. They lie

and fill their pockets.



Pashow, who gave them permission

to come here?

I don't know.

Tell them to go to Karim's land!

Hurry up!

- Shouldn't I come with you?

- Hurry!

Hurry up!

Wait here!



I've come with them from "Kanibo"

to buy a satellite dish.

It's too expensive.

You can't buy one.

How much is it?

Maybe I can give you some discount.

- Don't you have any cheaper ones?

- It's war; it's the end of the world.

If you don't have money,

don't buy it.

I have a few radios.

Can we exchange?


Radios have no value any more.

Only cash for satellites.

Can we can give you some radios

and pay half in cash?


Half of it in radios

and half of it in cash.

Okay, how many radios

do you have?

- How much cash?

- 500.

Put those on the table!

Okay take the dish!

"Hello Mr.!"

"How are you?"

Hello, satellite!

Have you seen these mines?

Who found them?

The armless boy

who hit Abdol Rahman in the face.

Didn't I tell you to work

on Karim's land?

The boy didn't let us go there.

He told us to work on this field.

It's full of mines.

I don't know how he found out.

It's unbelievable!

All of this is my work.

I did the work of 3 days in one day.

I told you only

to collect American mines.

He said there is no difference

between Italian and American mines.

He said anybody

who says the opposite is a liar.

Liar? He called me a liar?

Where is he?

He is there!


There! Up there!

Hey, you! Come down!

Hey, come down!

Why don't you come down?

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Bahman Ghobadi

Bahman Ghobadi (Persian: بهمن قبادی‎; Kurdish: به‌همه‌ن قوبادی / Behmen Qubadî) is an Iranian Kurdish film director, producer and writer. He was born on February 1, 1969 in Baneh, Kurdistan province. Ghobadi belongs to the "new wave" of Iranian cinema. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Turtles Can Fly" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/turtles_can_fly_12189>.

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