Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review | Dol: The Valley of Tambourines by Derek Elley

Dol: The Valley of Tambourines |Dol |(France - Germany)
A NovoCine (in France)/Mitosfilm (in Germany) release of an HS Prods. (France)/Mitosfilm (Germany) production. (International sales: Mitosfilm, Berlin.) Produced by Hiner Saleem. Directed, written by Hiner Saleem.

With: Nazmi Kirik, Belcim Bilgin, Omer Ciaw Sin, Rojin Ulker, Tarik Akreyi, Ciwan Haco, Abdullah Keskin, Sipel Dogu Lesar Erdogan, Ayten Soykok, Sivan Selim, Taha Xelil, Bahman Haci, Sabr Abdurrahman.

Iraqi-Kurdish director Hiner Saleem ("Kilometer Zero," "Vodka Lemon") doesn't have anything fresh to say in "Dol," another dramatic reverie on the plight of his people that is strictly fest fare for Middle East specialists. Shorn of the irony that enlivened his previous pics, drama-free item simply shuffles a group of characters who symbolize political and ethnic positions around a mountainous landscape where Turkey, Iraq and Iran meet.

During a wedding ceremony between Azad (Nazmi Kirik) and Nazenin (Sipel Dogu Lesar Erdogan) in the rocky village of Balliova (pop. 8,200), a fight breaks out after provocation by the Turkish military. Azad flees in a truck to Iraqi Kurdistan and meets various characters in the fluid society, where everyone from separatists to drug runners co-exist. There's Ceto (Abdullah Keskin), a Kurd from Paris visiting his family; Jekaf (Rojin Ulker), kidnapped as a teen by Iraqi soldiers; and the beautiful Taman (Belcim Bilgin), who intros Azad to guerrillas fighting the Iranian government. Dialogue is utilitarian ("Here our land is free. It's a new era for Kurdistan"), lensing of the scrubby landscape impressive in a static way. "Dol" is Kurdish for both "drums" and "valley."

Camera (color), Andreas Sinanos; editors, Dora Mantzoros, Bonita Papastathi; music, Ozgur Akgul, Mehmet Erdem, Vedat Yildirim; art director, Saman Sabunci; costumes, Belcim Bilgin. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Dec. 12, 2007. Original Kurdish title: Dol. Kurdish, Turkish dialogue. Running time: 87 MIN.

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