googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Many Hearts in Turbulence is why you must see it at the VIFF


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Many Hearts in Turbulence is why you must see it at the VIFF

Camillia Mahal as Jina
A startlingly adept portrayal of the harsh choices that some face is at the core of the Canadian-made movie Turbulence, now playing at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Without any Hollywood histrionics, this tight thriller-human interest combination of a movie strikes deep into your very being, from the opening scene to the final one.

The second movie by writer-director Soran Mardookhi tells the gut-wrenching story of Sherzad (Kamal Yamolky),  and his young daughter, Jina. Set in Vancouver, the film covers a few days in the life of these two and their relatives and friends.

The backdrop is the brutal events in Iraq at the time of the Iraq-Iran war, when millions lost their lives in a years-long war. With his family shattered and killed in Kurdistan, the main actor, Sherzad, flees to Canada, with his young, traumatized daughter.

The past is gone, but still has the family in its relentless grip.
Soran Mardookhi

Jina is played with superb understatement by Camillia Mahal, and Kamal Yamolky, in his first starring role as the father, delivers a performance that many actors in Hollywood would give their eye teeth to match.

The eye behind the camera is that of the producer/director, Soran Mardookhi, who after earning his BFA in Film Directing in January 2006, went on to produce many short films and two features. His directorial debut in 2007 was And Thus I Was Born, and was screened at film festivals around the world.

You can read more about the movie and its cast at the VIFF site, and in the review by by Alison Chang in The Source. Chang writes:

Mardookhi, 35, was born in Iran and immigrated to Vancouver in 2010. It took the director roughly two years to pen the script. From the beginning, he had Yamolky in mind for the role of the father. Finding the right person for the female lead proved harder.
Reflection before the climax

After last nights showing at VIFF, Mardookhi was asked about the progress of the movie from start to finish. He said that he started out with a clear course in mind, but the end-product proved to be far different from what he originally planned it to be. The script was changed often, due to the story pushing its own envelope, the interaction between the actors, the pressing need to keep within budget, and even the inability to find the right locations for what he had in mind when he first wrote the script.

Kamal Yamolky, a short, sharp-featured man in his eighties, appeared on the floor along with all the other cast members and crew, invited to join the spotlight by Mardookhi. 

For a man who has just started his film career, Yamolky has mastered several of the arts a successful actor needs: timing, self-assurance, and the ability to draw the spotlight to him like a candle draws a moth. 
Kamal Yamolky: stunning first role

If Yamolky had found himself in California in his early twenties, instead of Kurdistan, then engineering might have lost him but the movie industry would have benefited.

Jina is played by Camillia Mahal, 34, a Vancouver-born actress of East Indian descent. Chang quotes the director about how he handled her on the set:
“I didn’t say nice things to her, like I said to the others on set – I wanted her to stay in character – and I think it worked. She was the right choice,” says Mardookhi.
Chang’s quote about Mardookhi’s view of his movie sums it up best, in my view:
“This movie is made with [almost] no budget, but so many hearts were in it,” says Mardookhi.

 If you are in Vancouver, or visiting there, go and see Turbulence. You will not be disappointed.

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