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Tulpan (Subtitled)

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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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

Special Features


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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002CTJVZ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,859 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tulpan (Subtitled)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
I was very fortunate to be able to see TULPAN at a small movie theatre (rather than DVD) so that I could enjoy it with a few dozen other folks. But it will play just as well on a wide-screen TV (the bigger the better, though)...because it is in many ways a travelogue. A skewed, touching and somewhat haunting one...taking you to a place you know you don't want to go. Seeing it with a group, I felt as though we were on some kind of slow moving tour bus, allowing us to visit the stark land of Kazakhstan. If you saw it alone, no doubt you'd feel like a lone traveler, beating up your car's suspension and working hard to keep your car on track in the wind. TULPAN is the most tiny and intimate of films...yet has almost deliriously expansive panoramas of a land that is as forbidding as any depicted on screen.

Young Asa has recently returned home from his service in the Navy. He comes from a family of hard-scrabble sheep herders on the Steppes of Kazakhstan. He is a vibrant, easy-going and slightly dimwitted young man. His burning desire is to have his own herd, but this will not be granted to him until he marries. There is pretty much only one eligible young lady in his sparsely populated corner of the world, and even though he has never even seen this girl (named Tulpan), because she holds the key to his happiness, he feels he is in love with her. She declines his offer, ostensibly because she doesn't like his big ears. The real reason may be that she wants a life in the city, perhaps with an education. Asa loves the harsh land that has been his only home, and he yearns to own his own way there. You have no doubt that he would treat this girl well and give her a "traditionally happy" life...because he clearly has no malicious bone in his body.
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Format: DVD
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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Tulpan (Subtitled)
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