A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Turtles In Movies

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The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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A man we know only as "the engineer" is staying in a small primitive villiage somewhere in Iran waiting waiting for an old woman to die so he can film the funeral ceremony. There is no cell phone reception in the village so he has to drive from the village up to a cemetary on a nearby hilltop to use his phone. We see him drive up again and again. On one of his visits there he becomes frustrated talking to his boss who has become impatient that he has been in the village over 2 weeks. He sees a tortoise crawling over a large cement grave marker and kicks it to turn it over on to its back. It rolls back onto its feet, so he kicks it again and leaves it. After he drives away we see the tortoise struggle and eventually right itself and crawl away. This act of emotion, of violence, comes as a shock to the viewer who has watched the film for over an hour with nothing even remotely this dramatic happening. Some viewers would say nothing ever happens in this very slowly paced film, but Iranian films of this era tend to be very subtle partly due to their low budgets and the heavy censorship of films by the Iranian government.

I don't know what kind of tortise is used. There are two tortoises native to Iran - Horsfield's Tortoise - Testudo horsfieldii, and Spur-thighed Tortoise - Tesdudo graeca, so it is most likely one of these.

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