Review – My Sweet Pepper Land

Pepperland

This review first appeared in BMA Magazine.

If you’re at drinks and someone says they saw a really good foreign film that’s a Kurdish western, but they can’t remember the name, there’s a good chance it’s My Sweet Pepper Land.

In a plot that resembles Hot Fuzz, a policeman named Baran (Korkmaz Arslan) is sent to be the sheriff of a small town that borders of Iran, Turkey and Iraq. Nobody in the area takes the law seriously and a tribal chief has absolute rule of the region. When a young Kurdish teacher, Govend (Golshifteh Farahani), is shunned by the village, Baran decides that it’s time to stamp his authority.

As soon as Baran rolls into town on horseback it’s clear that My Sweet Pepper Land has a western flavour and it doesn’t take long for a cowboy hat to land on his noggin. Two strangers in a strange land, Baran and Govend, face the difficulties of conflicting beliefs and ideals in the village. After an oddball start with a few humorous moments, director Hiner Saleem pulls off a very difficult tonal shift that’s awash with gender politics as Baran rises to defend Govend’s honour as well as restoring the balance of justice. The mountainous scenery further isolates the characters and is captured beautifully by cinematographer Pascal Auffray.

It takes a little too long to reach the obvious breaking point but My Sweet Pepper Land is a solid foreign twist on gunslingers and damsels in distress.

4/5

Cameron Williams
The Popcorn Junkie

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