Tulpan is a 2008 Kazakh drama film. It was directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy and distributed by Zeitgeist Films. Tulpan, which I assume means tulip- was Kazakhstan’s 2009 Academy Awards official submission to Foreign Language Film category. It won the award for Best Film at the 2nd Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Asa, a recently discharged Russian Navy sailor, is living in the remote Kazakhstan steppe with his sister Samal, her older husband, Ondas, and their three children. He dreams of becoming a herdsman with his own ranch, but needs to be married before he will be able to fulfill his dream. Asa hopes to marry Tulpan, the daughter of a neighboring family and the only woman eligible for marriage perhaps within a hundred miles. However, her parents are unwilling to see their daughter married off to an unemployed man with few prospects and Tulpan herself appears to have little interest in Asa. The plot of the story follows the trials of Asa, his surrogate family, and his western culture-loving friend Boni. This tale of Kazakh farmers, unrequited love, and dreams was thought-provoking, touching, flawlessly acted and looked stunning. I hope to see more gems like this……
This film has a rare curiosity and it exploits a very authentic mode of movie making. Besides a milestone cinema, in terms with a very different story been told and you see it for real, a perfectly ordinary event that can sometimes lead into miracle.
The film was well received all over and upon the film’s initial release in Kazakhstan, at a special screening of 1500 people, although it was praised by the herdsman and rural folk depicted in the film, it was criticized and looked down upon by some Kazakhstan government officials, who felt that the film portrayed an even more degrading picture of Kazakhstan than Borat.
Internationally the film was a great success doing well at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. The film has been praised for its poetic realism, the relationships and depth sustained by its characters, the film’s simplicity, patience, and care for its subject matter, and also for its depiction of a world that is seemingly lost in time and space, increasingly fading away more and more into the past. A vey lovable cinema of course…..
- Written & Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy
- Produced by Karl Baumgartner, and Thanassis Karathanos
- Casting: Askhat Kuchinchirekov; Samal Yeslyamova; Ondasyn Besikbasov;Tulepbergen Baisakalov; Bereke Turganbayev; Nurzhigit Zhapabayev & Mahabbat Turganbayeva
- Cinematography by Jola Dylewska PSC
- Editing by Isabel Meier & Petar Markovic
- Distributed by Zeitgeist Films
- Release dates: May 23, 2008 (Cannes Film Festival)
- Running time: 100 minutes
- Country: Kazakhstan
- Language: Kazakh & Russian