Tulpan

"Excellent"

Tulpan Review


A thoroughly charming slice of life from an isolated part of the world, this film features situations that are recognisable simply because the people involved are so realistic. It's also remarkably warm and funny.

Asa (Kuchinchirekov) is a young guy just out of his naval service and wanting to settle down with a wife and a flock of sheep on the remote steppes of Kazakhstan. He's living with his sister (Yeslyamova) and her husband (Besikbasov), and the only eligible girl nearby is Tulpan. But her parents (Nurzhanbayev and Khalykulova) are fiercely protective, so Asa tries everything to get through to her. Meanwhile, he's busy caring for sheep that are struggling to find enough grass to stay healthy.

What makes this film so endearing is Kuchinchirekov's likable, puppy-dog performance. As Tulpan resolutely stays out of sight, sometimes making rude comments through the curtains, Asa must develop another plan with the help of his brother-in-law and his chucklehead pal Boni (Baisakalov). Stirred into this are the pressures of daily life and hopes for the future. And it's refreshing to see that, despite his travels, Asa's desire is to return to his dusty, windswept home.

But of course, even here his dream is thwarted, because he can't start a life here without a wife. And it's in this simple premise that filmmaker Dvortsevoy finds real resonance. Even if we can't imagine life in this place, we can sympathise with Asa's longing to move forward against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And it's not just the elusive Tulpan; the world itself seems to be changing as lambs are stillborn and even the local vet (who transports a sick camel in his motorcycle's sidecar) can't fix this.

The film is packed with documentary-style footage of life in this environment, which adds lovely texture to the bittersweet and comical slice-of-life story.

One strikingly long take of a sheep giving birth is both vividly detailed and intriguingly telling as it gives us further insight into the characters and their daily challenges. And in the end, we feel like we've experienced just a bit of what it's like to live in this remote place, including an understanding of what we all have in common.



Tulpan

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 9th April 2009

Distributed by: Zeitgeist Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sergei Dvortsevoy

Producer: , Thanassis Karathanos

Also starring:

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