Review: Snow Pirates // Kar Korsanları (2015)

Faruk Hacihafizoglu makes his directorial debut with Snow Pirates, a coming-of-age story set against the fraying situation of the 1980 military coup, whose tensions are felt in a small Turkish village. Serhat, Gurbuz and Ibo are three pre-pubescent teenagers fumbling around in a rapidly deteriorating situation. Childhood innocence is thrown into the mix of a despotic grown-up world, one in which the harsh winter haunts them in every corner. 

With a dichotomous relationship between games and reality from the very onset, school and football games rapidly metamorphose into a very real struggle for survival against the bitter cold. The tension continually builds as the three set out for coal under a tight military regime that has soldiers briskly patrolling the chalk-white streets. 

Their naivety poses a stark opposition to the severity of the situation, made even more intense when youthful antics are put at play. Sitting on their crude wooden sleds on which they pile their finds on, they slide and yank each other along the pristine slopes while on the search for coal to warm their homes. While they remain relatively carefree, the deteriorating situation is made brutally obvious to viewers.
Mingled with moments of humour, it is desperation and familial ties that delineate the stifling pervasion of childhood innocence. The incongruity between events and the manner in which the schoolboys react captures the essence of children caught in the midst of a tumultuous reality. It is in the nuances in performance, the startlingly beautiful backdrop and the crisp audio, that captivates and pulls viewers right into a very genuinely presented experience. 

Review by Chris Yeo

This review is part of the Asian Feature Film Competition series at the Singapore International Film Festival 2015. Read more about the film here.
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