Song From the Southern Seas (Pesn' Juzhnykh Morej) - Amazon.com Exclusive
Two couples, one Russian and one Kazakh, live side by side in relative harmony in a beautiful yet semi-desolate region of the Great Steppe. But when the fair-skinned Russians give birth to a boy of decidedly darker skin, fifteen years of suspicion and acrimony arises between them, and can only be resolved by an ironic twist of family and fate.
At times darkly somber, at other times tender and wistful—and buoyed throughout by a soundtrack of folk-inspired melodies—writer-director Marat Sarulu draws on Kazakhstan's epic history to create a gritty and deeply compassionate tale of humor and cultural insight.
"Sarulu's gorgeous, wonderfully acted film...mingles everyday brutality with the most sublime expressions of feeling."
-Museum of Modern Art
"Now into the ranks of the most accomplished Kazakh films (Shuga and Kairat, Tulpan, Nomad, Mongol) comes Kyrgyz Marat Sarulu's Song From the Southern Seas, an excellent example of accessible, cinema-specific, multilayered narrative…. Sarulu successfully blends historical and political antecedents with the more contemporary family drama."
Song from the Southern Seas is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Russian with English subtitles.
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This compact work, energized by the yin and yang of assorted conflicts (ethnic, generational, familial), focuses chiefly on the love-hate relationship between indigenous Kazakhs and Russian immigrants who have lived side by side for decades. --Screen International
Marat Sarulu's lighthearted drama about Kazakhstan's cultural past and present goes a long way in repairing the country's image in the aftermath of Borat. Centered on the tensions that arise between two neighboring couples one Kazakh, one Russian when a decidedly Kazakh-looking child is born to the latter, the film delicately balances somber dramatic moments with optimistic playfulness. Majestic panoramas of the Kazakh Steppe and allegorical puppet sequences provide a mythical feel to the story. But while the country might still be seen as provincial and rustic, it's clearly in a spirit of admiration, not derision. --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Sarulu's latest film is the story of two neighbours, Ivan and Assan, living in a remote Kazakh village. Ivan is Russian, Assan is Kazakh, and when Ivan s wife gives birth to a dark-haired baby, the jealous husband casts suspicion on his best friend. The village vendetta lasts for 15 years, and as Ivan's son grows into a disobedient teenager and runs away from home, Ivan's humiliation seems to be too much for him to bear. In the land where Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Russians and Germans have had to live side by side for at least one hundred years, the quest for one's ethnic identity turns into a pursuit of happiness. Sarulu decorates his contemporary tale with dream-like mountain landscapes, animated interludes and folk music. --Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2009