Tulpan

Film
4 out of 5 stars
1 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
TULPAN01.jpg
The dusty, sun-bleached flats of Kazakhstan are deftly transformed into a simmering hotbed of romantic and familial intrigue in writer-director Sergei Dvortsevoy’s wise and witty inquiry into the decline of the nomadic lifestyle. Asa (Askat Kuchinchirekov) is the adorably dim ex-sailor whose search for a significant other (specifically, enigmatic local beauty Tulpan) is constantly stymied by his blundering manner, an absence of farming prowess and a gargantuan pair of lugholes.

Yet his protracted period of doomed courtship gives us ample time to examine the fabric of this remote society, as questions about its sustainability, practicality and principles are all raised via involving and often absurd  sketches that riff on the daily struggle.

Despite this being his first fictional film, Dvortsevoy exhibits the storytelling composure and technical proficiency of a veteran, while his keen eye for a pastoral poetic flourish places ‘Tulpan’ firmly among the year’s most endearing cinematic experiences. And how many films can boast a single-take shot of a baby goat being born and receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?

Posted:

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday November 13 2009
Duration:
100 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Sergei Dvortsevoy
Cast:
Askhat Kuchinchirekov
Tulepbergen Baisakalov
Samal Yeslyamova
Ondasyn Besikbasov
Zhappas Dzhailaubaev
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Having been highly praised above and by other critics, and apparently an award winner, I went to Tulpan with high expectations. These proved ill-founded. One critic called this a comedy, but what humour there is is dampened by the all-pervasive landscape of the Kazhakstan steppe - desolate, oppresive and depressing. This is not redeemed by thin characterisations and the sort of longeurs that are seen in an "art" film like this as a virtue but are often just boring. The birth of the goat described above may be justifiable as a symbol of hope ,but try sitting through the protracted high pitched singing of one of the children in the family yurt, while another squeezes blackheads out of her father's back for what feels like hours. I'm still trying to shake off the gloom.