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Hejar Review

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A Turkish nationalist judge, offers sanctuary to the Kurdish toddler who survives a raid on a neighbouring flat and has to face his prejudices.

★★★★★

Despite being selected as Turkey's Oscar entry, this well-meaning melodrama was withdrawn from release as it gave a false impression of police attitudes towards the country's Kurdish minority.

However, many outsiders will deduce that they were probably more afraid of the film's advocacy of toleration than any accusations of brutality. The story of a nationalist judge, who offers sanctuary to the Kurdish toddler who survives a raid on a neighbouring flat, initially seems courageous. But director Handan Ipekci concentrates on the emotional aspects of tetchy widower Sukran Gungor's relationship with the winsomely wilful Dilan Ercetin. Thus he allows sentiment to swamp the more contentious cultural considerations that arise from both the old man's innate prejudices and his visit to the shanty town where the girl's grandfather lives.

While Hejar pulls its political punch, it should still make a meaningful impression.

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