Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Turkey's biggest budget ever movie to be released in the US: "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq starts off factually enough, with a depiction of a July 4, 2003, incident in which around 100 soldiers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade stormed the barracks of a Turkish special forces office in Iraq, arresting 11 Turks who allegedly were planning to assassinate the Kurdish governor of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Americans not only handcuffed the Turks but also forced hoods over their heads and held them in custody for more than two days. The U.S. government later apologized, explaining that its soldiers couldn't tell the difference between Turks and Iraqi insurgents because the Turks were not in uniform. Turkey didn't buy it, and this blockbuster is the payback.

"As the flick takes a sharp turn toward fiction, one of the 11 Turks in the 2003 debacle commits suicide to regain his warrior honor. His suicide note is sent to Polat Alemdar, the Turkish intelligence officer who stars in the Valley of the Wolves television show. Alemdar heads to Iraq to find U.S. Special Forces Cmdr. Sam William Marshall (played by Billy Zane), who, in his role as a self-described 'peacekeeper of God,' is busy leading a massacre of machine-gun fire on unsuspecting civilians at an Iraqi wedding. Survivors are sent to a facility where a Jewish-American doctor (played by Gary Busey) pulls out human hearts with Mengelian apathy and sells them to aristocrats in London, New York, and Tel Aviv. When one of the American soldiers expresses concern that a truckful of Iraqi civilians are packed in too tight to breathe, a fellow soldier stops the car and bullet-soaks the trailer and its human cargo. 'I was making sure they could breathe,' he quips, pointing to the holes in the truck."

While rooted in truth, it is the very excesses and caricatures of films such as this which will undoubtedly contribute to their popular success. As the Hollywood system finally breaks down and 'third world' movies and culture rise, one of the biggest casualties will be US imperialism and its international reputation.

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