19 October: Tulpan

Best FilmCannes 2008 (Un Certain Regard)

★★★★ “Not only ravishing to look at but exceedingly funny too… one of the most charming films of the year. On no account miss the chance to enjoy it” Evening Standard
★★★★ “An eminently lovable film… a gem” Guardian
★★★★ “A weirdly magical debut from Kazakhstan’s Sergei Dvorstsevoy… the film is irresistibly human and funny” Financial Times
★★★★ “An amazing film. I swear to you that if you live in a place where this film is playing, it is the best film in town” Roger Ebert

On a dust-swirled steppe, a tent-dwelling family tries to marry off young Asa to a neighbouring girl who keeps saying no. Brideless, the chap has no hope of qualifying for the land plus sheep-flock he can claim from Comrade Boss, the local relic of Soviet power.

On an epic screen, life unspools like a giant thread teased from a tapestry. Twisters vortex on the skyline; lambs die from malnutrition; angry camels get, in every sense, the hump. (Hell has no fury like a dromedary whose baby is forcibly removed by the intinerant vet.)

The central family has rowdy children, a tyrannical dad and a daughter who banshees folk songs louder than Shirley Bassey. The film is irresistibly human and funny, and properly momentous when calamity strikes.

(adapted from Financial Times review)

Dir. Sergey Dvortsevoy  | Kazakhstan 2008  | 100 min  |  Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles