Directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy
A young shepherd plies his trade while searching for a wife.
The first feature by Russian documentarian Sergei Dvortsevoy is an “unclassifiable” film firmly grounded by “a powerful sense of place,” said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice. That place is the vast, sparsely populated nowhereland of southern Kazakhstan. Crafted as a “dramatic account of a documentary situation,” Tulpan concentrates on one family that not only survives but finds satisfaction in the nomadic life of sheepherding. Though the setting is foreign, the characters of this “gorgeous and subtle narrative” seem anything but, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. “What makes Tulpan remarkable are the extended unbroken scenes, both dramatic and comic,” of everyday life: a suffering ewe struggling to give birth, a little girl “singing a Kazakh song into the wind,” and a young man coming to grips with adulthood. Tulpan works as both an “old-fashioned domestic melodrama and a slow-paced slice of life,” said Noel Murray in The Onion. This beautifully constructed story about a way of life that‘s quickly vanishing meditates deeply on “tradition and modernity.”