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Valley of the Wolves Iraq - Preview

Valley of the Wolves Iraq

Preview by Jack Foley

A TURKISH film that’s described as ‘rabidly anti-American’ is pulling in record crowds in its home country where people are reportedly queuing around the block to see it.

Valley of the Wolves Iraq is the most expensive film ever made in Turkey and was inspired by the real-life incident that opens the film, which involves the arrest of Turkish special forces in northern Iraq in July 2003 by American soldiers.

The soldiers in question were led out of their base at gunpoint, with hoods over their heads, causing widespread outrage. America did later apologise for the mistake but the incident caused lasting resentment, particularly as Turkey considered it a national humiliation.

The rest of the film follows a fictional hero as he sets out for revenge against some very bad Americans (played by US actors, Billy Zane and Gary Busey).

Yet while only loosely based on fact, the content of the film has caused concern among those who view it as having the ability to potentially re-open old wounds.

Several scenes show incidents of US violence, including the massacre of civilians at a wedding by trigger-happy American troops and the fire-bombing of a Mosque during prayer. Even the doctor played by Busey is seen removing human organs from Iraqi prisoners to send to patients in the US, Israel and Britain.

What’s more, the film also reveals some of the real-life abuses carried out by US soldiers against Iraqi prisoners.

According to the BBC, Middle East expert Cengiz Candar has predicted that the film could re-ignite the issue, particularly given its central theme of defending Turkish honour.

He is quoted as saying that the film ‘poisons the climate in a way that enhances jingoistic nationalism among Turks’ and pushes them to ‘inward-looking and hostile’.

But script-writer Bahadir Ozdener, who was also responsible for a series in the same name, maintains the film is making a statement: “Maybe 60 or 70% of what happens on screen is factually true. Turkey and America are allies, but Turkey wants to say something to its friend. We want to say that this is wrong,” he explained.

Certainly, the film has captured the imagination of a nation with the BBC reporting that several viewers had returned for repeat viewings, while Istanbul’s biggest multiplex was showing the film on five screens at once to try and cater for demand.

The film is due for a release in Europe and the US soon.