Sunday April 19 at 7pm
Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy
With Tolepbergen Baisakalov, Ondas Besikbasov, Samal Esljamova Kazakhstan 2008, 35mm, color, 100 min. Kazakh with English subtitles
Print from Zeitgeist Films
Tulpan is the feature film debut of Sergey Dvortsevoy, who has earned an international reputation over the past decade for his lyrical and heartfelt documentaries focused primarily on life in his native Kazakhstan. Exuding the same love of landscape and interest in the details and habits of daily life as the documentaries, Tulpan tells the story of a young Kazakh man returning to the Hunger Steppe after his military service with the goal of becoming a shepherd. Hoping to marry into a family with a herd, the awkward young man must first win over the object of his affection –the Tulpan of the film’s title—who refuses his advances. Dvortsevoy’s attention to the cadence of life on the steppe and the appeal of his actors – most of whom had not lived on the steppe before being cast in the film – give a rare energy to this remarkable film, which evinces both a rigorous intelligence and the big-hearted appeal of Chaplin. Yet behind Tulpan’s winning charm looms the larger question of whether the traditional nomadic existence remains a viable option for younger Kazakhs, and what will become of the region itself.
This program is co-presented with the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, Harvard.