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On the steppes of Kazakhstan, Asa lives in a yurt with his sister Samal, her husband Ondas, and their three children. Ondas is a herdsman, tough and strong. It's dry, dusty, and windy; too many lambs are stillborn. Against this backdrop, Asa, a dreamer who's slight of build and recently finished with a stint in the Russian Navy, tries to establish a life on the steppes. He, his friend Boni, and Ondas call on Tulpan, the only single girl in the area. The men talk to her parents while she listens out of sight. Her answer and Asa's later trips to talk to her form an arc of hope against the harsh land. Is this the place of Asa's dreams? What about the other lambs? Written by
Slight Spoiler Alternate Title: WAITING FOR TULPAN GODOT
If you don't know what TULPAN means in English, you will after watching the film. And yet, they never translate it for you...You have to figure it out for yourself! Sometimes, unfortunately, it seems that particular talent is fast becoming a lost art among U.S. movie-goers. Take a film like TULPAN, which is so simple, so unpretentious, and yet, manages to show us things in life that are so delicate and complicated!
***May Contain a Minor Spoiler or Two!***
What motivated me to give TULPAN a look? Certainly not the IMDb Blurb, it really misses the mark! No, my decision was based on a truly accurate, quality review. Originality is something to be prized and praised in a movie. You know how rare it is to encounter a film with something totally original to offer. TULPAN has at least 5 elements that I don't recall seeing in any other cinematic work! Without them, 6 or 7* more than likely would have been my rating...But I'll add 1/2* for each original element, bringing my rating up to 9*. So, What are these elements?
1) ALL the actors in TULPAN appear using their REAL names! Maybe you're thinking you've seen a few other films like that. Well, in ALL the others I remember like this, the production values are horrific and the acting worse. Here the acting is so natural, so oblivious to the camera, it lends a "Slice of life" feel to the production.
2) Have seen movies in dozens of different languages! Kazak is not one of them. So, TULPAN is my first in this language related to Turkish.
3)Have you ever seen mouth-to-mouth respiration administered to a newborn calf in a movie? Not just once, but several times by two different actors!
Elements 4) and 5)....? Let's keep the last two elements a surprise. (Although my alternate title above should give you a hint.)
Sheep-herding on the Asian Steppe is anything but exciting. TULPAN REALLY drives that point home. If you're not willing to sit through movies where the pacing is, at times, excruciatingly deliberate, but that reward you in the end for your patience...This is not for you. If you like windows into new and exotic cultures, check TULPAN out! 9*STARS*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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