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Tulpan (Subtitled) (2009)

Askhat Kuchinchirekov , Samal Yeslyamova , Sergey Dvortsevoy  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Samal Yeslyamova, Ondasyn Besikbasov
  • Directors: Sergey Dvortsevoy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002CTJVZ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,683 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tulpan (Subtitled)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Acclaimed Kazakh documentarian Sergey Dvortsevoy's first narrative feature is a gorgeous melange of tender comedy, ethnographic drama and wildlife extravaganza. Following his Russian naval service, young dreamer Asa returns to his sister's nomadic brood on the desolate Hunger Steppe to begin a hardscrabble career as a shepherd. But before he can tend a flock of his own, Asa must win the hand of the only eligible bachelorette for miles--his alluringly mysterious neighbor Tulpan. Accompanied by his girlie mag-reading sidekick Boni (and a menagerie of adorable lambs, stampeding camels, mewling kittens and mischievous children), Asa will stop at nothing to prove he is a worthy husband and herder. In the tradition of such crowd-pleasing travelogues as The Story of the Weeping Camel, Tulpan's gentle humor and stunning photography transport audiences to this singular, harshly beautiful region and its rapidly vanishing way of life.

- 16:9 anamorphic presentation, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- Theatrical trailer
- Interview with director Sergey Dvortsevoy, from Cinema Scope magazine


"This joyous, one-of-a-kind movie is a must for anyone who doubts that the cinema has surprises still left in store." --Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Asa is a young Kazakh who, having completed his military service, wants to return home and become a sheep farmer. The problem is he must first be married and the only eligible woman within many miles, the shy and elusive Tulpan, is just not interested.

Celebrated Kazakh documentary filmmaker Sergey Dvorsevoy won the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes for this, his first dramatic feature. Astonishing in its simplicity and for its intimate depiction of rural life, the film is also surprisingly funny - a simple humor that is far removed from that of the more popular but utterly false portrayal of Kazakhstan in Borat.

The performances, mostly by individuals who had never acted before, are astonishingly genuine. It's hard to believe they are playing a role, and that this is not a documentary. Even more stunning is the authenticity of the scenes. There is, obviously, no CGI here, and nothing is fake, but through patience Dvortsevoy was able to capture some surprising and exciting moments - a twister that appears suddenly in the midst of a confrontation between two characters, an angry camel mother attacking the vet who cares for her son, a sheep giving birth and a genuine performance of Asa's surprise and wonder and helplessness, all in a single take without cuts. Lovers of great films should celebrate this deceptively simple and lovely film.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Tale with the Feel of a Documentary June 12, 2009
Dense with the realism and light humor of daily existence, Tulpan at times has the feel of a documentary, yet it is a touching fictional tale about finding one's place in the world.

Asa returns from naval service and has expansive dreams of a free and prosperous life on the Kazakh steppe. For them to come true, his brother-in-law must give him a starter herd, he must find a wife in a desert devoid of humans, and he must earn his stripes as a herder. Asa is impatient, does not fit in, and seems powerless to realize his dreams. When he is pushed to the brink, ready to give up on his dream, he has a transforming experience of life and rebirth. (As reviewed in Russian Life)

Dvortsevoy films with a patient eye (Tulpan took four years to film), turning the gritty landscape into a character in the film, helping to convey the utter isolation (but not hopelessness) of life on the barren steppe. This is a quixotic and delightful tale of self-discovery that offers a vivid look at what life is like in this secluded corner of the world.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular September 30, 2009
Sparse, dry, bleak, and alien, describes the location for this film. The words also describe the way Tulpan was filmed - long slow deliberate shots. The film is about a land and people completely foreign from any experience we could even imagine in North America, the steppes of Kazakhstan. The contrast to this harsh environment is a film about Asa who dreams of a different life; his sister Samal who dreams of moving to a different place; and her husband the hard working realist. How these people eek out a life in that arid desolate land is nothing short of incredible.

The film opens with the sounds of fabric blowing in the wind, a heard of camels moves off camera, the dusts settles and the barren landscape is revealed; in the foreground, a post-apocalypse tractor that looks straight out of Road Warrior, and a Yurt in the background. The film cuts to inside of the Yurt. Asa is trying to convince Tulpan's parents that he is the right husband for their daughter. He's supported by his friend, Boni (Mr. Gold Teeth with the big smile), and his brother in law Ondas. The story unfolds very slowly, much like life in this arid land. Asa is an immature dreamer faced with the difficulties of living with his sister, her three children, and her husband. Odan the husband is a sheep farmer faced with the harsh reality of still born sheep. Samal, the sister, wife, and mother wants to move to another location; but is always happy, always caring for those around her. I particularly loved Samal's 2 year old son - there is something universal about children getting in the way and being adorable.

Tulpan reminds me of Himalaya, both films show an incredibly difficult life in an area we can never imagine.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Shepherds Dream October 12, 2009
It has been quite a while since a film affected me as powerfully as Tulpan. It sort of seeps under your skin and makes you reflect about it, like chewing cud, or something. It is extremely naturalistic, with a rich density whose lyrical simplicity is drawn out through many special little moments and situations. These little scenes were like pearls on a string. Each one reveals so much about the character of the individuals involved, and the relationships between them. In the end, the sense of the ties that bind, and the sense of place and the strength of family life trump wanderlust. It is difficult to speak about this film in generalities. It would be easy to say it is about a young man in a lonely place who is dreaming of getting a beautiful wife, and a flock of sheep of his own, and his own yurt, and his own children--but that is only part of what it is about. Other than a few technological tools of the 21 century such as a portable radio and a tractor, the pattern of life is rooted in the situations of the shepherds of the steppes of central Asia since the dawn of animal husbandry. You could show this film to a herdsman from 4000 years ago and they would probably have only a few questions. But the film is so much more than what you can say about the engine that drives the action forward. It's about relationships in a family, it's about quiet desperation, its about death and birth and sickness and hope. And these things are drawn out with a quiet sublimity, as if not much effort or contrivance went into them. How does this happen? I'm not sure you can write these kinds of things in a script. It's too psychologicaly honest and true--it's too emotionally complex. There are just so many choice moments. "Man, I told you this is no cattle wagon! Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars not so great
Depressing. Inside the yurt how can anyone hear themselves think with too many young kids yelping and squarking about including one sister with an infantile off-key voice. Read more
Published 13 months ago by .fgd
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely done!
It is a "slow motion" film, but very well balanced, real pleasure to attend, time well spent. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anna Dobretsova
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky and enlightening
the cinematography is beautiful; stark landscapes and traditional dwellings juxtaposed with contemporary kitsch. Read more
Published 15 months ago by jmf
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on the Steppes of Kazakhstan
I found this film interesting, mostly for the view of the life of a family of shepherds on the Steppes of Kazakhstan. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Promise
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful movie!
I think what's most marvelous about Tulpan is how it communicates hope, even when life is hard and disappointing. Read more
Published 22 months ago by pestolover
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing landscape and culture!
Every now and then, you can find a foreign film that is pure original, unique with its cultural difference, a departure from the normal. Read more
Published on August 2, 2012 by  R I Z Z O 
3.0 out of 5 stars This Kazakh film is more interesting for its setting than its plot
The Russian filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy had gained a reputation for documentaries, but in the 2008 TULPAN he tries his hand at fiction with this story set in Kazakhstan. Read more
Published on May 27, 2012 by Christopher Culver
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise lost
I totally agree with most of the reviewers that loved the film, so I am not going to repeat all the praise. Read more
Published on February 10, 2012 by Theodoros Natsinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Suck on this Borat!
This is a truly great film, a masterpiece to challenge Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane and The Lion King! Once you have seen this you will never be the same. Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by kiwidoc
5.0 out of 5 stars Very quirky
If you are looking for a regular genre film, this is not for you. This little gem does not conform to any kind of Hollywood narrative nor to do the actors conform to any accepted... Read more
Published on November 17, 2010 by Paul J. Hussey
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