For Nariman the pilot and Helly Luv, an aspiring singer, being Kurdish is not just an identity; it’s a full-time job. Nariman needs young recruits for his flying school—a goal made darkly comic since he just survived a plane crash—while the illustrious Helly collects Kalashnikov rifles and a sea of Kurdish flags to produce her music video. In the midst of another war against the Kurdish people, Nariman reminisces about a long-lost love, and Helly finds herself connecting with Kurdish children at a refugee camp near the Syrian border, who are in urgent need of inspiration and hope. Lauded director Bahman Ghobadi ignites the pathos in a situation and then magically transforms it into joy. He masterfully clouds the lines between fiction and documentary by filming reenactments with his trademark camera and by casting ordinary characters as themselves. A timely and humanist portrait, Ghobadi’s newest work skirts the politics and instead creates a graceful reminder of the Kurdish people’s resilience and an ode to their collective creativity.
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