National liberation movements rarely have any tradition in cinema, for obvious reasons: celluloid is not a major priority in guerrilla warfare. When films do emerge from or about such struggles, the makers often understandably try to make up for lost time by cramming a whole complex history and current context into one giant macro-statement. But are such ambitious, all-embracing projects tactically the best vehicles for eliciting solidarity in the West? Certainly the first part of this film about the struggle of the Middle East's 18 million Kurds is somewhat intimidating, with its barrage of names, groups, uprisings, and incomprehensible archive footage (rarely labelled). But once the broad outlines have been established, the later material (from 1961 to 1978) is fascinating, particularly on the role of the Shah, and the realignment and move to the left of the Kurdish movement since the defeat by the Ba'ath regime in 1975. As 'one of the largest nations to have been denied a state', Kurdistan, divided among four Middle East dictatorships, certainly deserved to have its revolution popularised.
Georges Drion, Jacqueline Bottagisio
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