Kazakh cinema comes to town

Take a closer look into the culture, life and history of Kazakhstan at a new film festival starting from July 4

After the great success of Afghan, Buddhist and Bangladesh film festivals, the Pune International Centre (PIC) is set to screen 13 films from Kazakhstan. The festival opens with the film Tulpan, Kazakhstan’s official entry for the 2009 Academy Awards, and winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

A still from Gift for Stalin
A still from Gift for Stalin

The four-day festival presents a unique opportunity for film buffs to watch some splendid films from Kazakhstan. Latika Padgaonkar, founder member of PIC, says that most of these films have been critically acclaimed and were made after Kazakhstan got its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, thus presenting a unique perspective into the country and its growth as an independent nation. “We feel that after getting independence all goes fine, but it is not that way,” she says.

A still from Tulpan, the opening film of the Kazakhstan Film Festival at NFAI

Padgaonkar adds that selecting the films for the festival was a difficult task as the country has a huge film industry. “We have chosen films that will show the all-round development of the country, how people live there, their relationships, etc. Some of the films are contemporary while some show the history of the country,” she adds.

The films to be screened at the festival vary in terms of style and subject — Gift to Stalin by Rustem Abdrashev, for instance, is a dramatic narrative of Kazakhstan as a dumping ground for Stalin’s ethnic purges and atomic experiments, whereas Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol describes the events in the life of Chinghiz Khan that led him to become the legendary conqueror.

Also, a must watch at the festival is The Fall of Otrar, by Ardak Amirkulov. Billed as one of the “great unrecognised masterpieces of the 90s”, that spurred an extraordinary wave of great Kazakh films in that decade, the film is a staggering epic about the intrigue and turmoil preceding Chinghiz Khan’s destruction of Otrar in the 13th century.
From July 4 to 7

At: National Film Archives of India, Law College Road.

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