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Tulpan Review

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Young Asa returns to the Kazakh Steppe from the Russian army to try and start a life as a sheep farmer in the harsh and lonely landscape. But you need a family and there is only one eligible girl in the village.

★★★★

Documentarist Sergey Dvortsevoy makes an estimable feature debut with this charmingly absurdist-realist tale of the Kazakh steppe. Askhat Kuchinchirekov returns to his arid homelands to share a yurt with older sister Samal Yeslyamova, laconic brother-in-law Ondasyn Besikbasov and their four rowdy children. But his ambition to become a shepherd depends upon him marrying the only eligible maiden for miles around.

It’s a revealing portrait of nomadic life in the Central Asian wilderness, with the lengthy lamb-birthing sequence being especially enthralling. But there’s also a lot of humour, notably involving the hero’s Boney M-loving buddy.

Perceptive and humorous, this gentle drama is uplifting and resonant.

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