Good Kurds, Bad Kurds Film Reviews

LA Weekly - May 5-11, 2000


by Holly Willis


Kevin McKiernan's deceptively simple documentary, Good Kurds, Bad Kurds, offers an illuminating look at the appalling treatment of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and the United States. The filmmaker, a freelance journalist who worked on the film for more than nine years, describes his efforts to bring his stark images of brutality to the network news outlets and their lackluster response. "It's just not on our radar," he's told. Rebuffed, McKiernan put together this film to highlight not only the injustice faced by the Kurds and their disparate resistance attempts, but also the inconsistent and troubling U.S. foreign-policy response that functions most often at the Kurds' expense.

McKiernan melds footage shot in Turkey and along the Iraq-Turkey border with film shot in, of all places, Santa Barbara, where the filmmaker discovers an enclave of Kurdish immigrants (Haskell Wexler shot some of this footage). Using the experiences of one family in particular, McKiernan deftly highlights how politics cross boundaries, and again, the way the U.S. unjustly twists laws to its own ends. McKiernan has some terrific material here, and the documentary is an effective introduction to the human rights abuses that have effectively been silenced for pernicious, political reasons.



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