The Turtle’s Rage
From the moment that we first see the eyes of the turtle the seriousness of Turtles Rage is immediately obvious. Telling the tale of a family divided between Berlin and Palestine, two starkly contrasting cultures. After years living in Palestine, the turtle (our narrator Parys father) returns to the family in Berlin and retreats into his shell; the metaphor begins…
The prolonged silence between husband and wife is disconcerting, silence speaks much louder than words. A long-term hostility appears to have signalled that the marriage is essentially no more and those involved have accepted this as an inevitable consequence. We are at first presented with a stubborn man who doesnt seem to fit in to the world he knows finds himself in. Whether it is mixed messages, cultural differences, or the result of a life full of hardship and perceived injustices, this new settling place for the turtle is evidently not his natural habitat.
Whether it be the cuts between scenes of hectic Berlin and Palestine or the effortless language switching, the film is able to present two entirely contrasting ways of life effectively and coherently. There are questions to be asked about the historic roles of Jewish people and persecution in the two locations, although I should probably leave this topic for someone more culturally advised and less rambly. Though there are many tales of hardship and struggle told throughout, for me it is the silence that leaves the longest lasting effect. While the stories we hear may be ultimately disturbing or discouraging, watching the turtle go through some of his daily tasks in silence has constantly preyed on my mind and emotions. The audience arent necessarily meant to identify with the turtle, or even like him, yet it is far from difficult to become attached to such a strong-willed, determined character.
Though we are presented with a hard-shelled individual, Parys stories of her fathers need for protection resonate wildly. Berlin is certainly not his home, nor will it ever be, but it is where he must remain. He may be tucked up in his shell but with each glimpse we see of the turtle in his native habitat, he holds his head high.
The Turtle's Rage will be screened by DocHouse on Thursday 27th February at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith at 7.30pm and will be followed by a Q&A with the films director. For more information, click here.