This first feature by the celebrated documentary film-maker, Sergey Dvortsevoy, won the Prize for Best Film in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes 2008, and has gone on to win accolades around the world. After completing his naval service, young Asa travels back to the Kazakh steppe where his sister and her shepherd husband live a nomadic life. To start his new life, Asa must get married first before he can become a shepherd himself. Asa’s only hope for marriage on the deserted steppe is Tulpan, the daughter of another shepherd family. Asa is disappointed to learn that Tulpan doesn’t like him because she thinks that his ears are too big. But Asa doesn’t give up and he continues to dream of a life that may not be possible on the steppe ...
TULPAN is Sergey Dvortsevoy’s first feature film. Sergey has directed several short and medium-length documentary films which have won numerous top prizes. France. However, Sergey prefers to describe his award-winning films IN THE DARK, HIGHWAY, BREAD DAY and PARADISE as “life cinema.” His goal has always been to show the simplicity and warmth of the world in a mixture of naturalism and poetry.
Born in 1962 in Chimkent, Kazakhstan, Sergey studied engineering. As an Aeroflot radio engineer, he travelled all over the country, until he saw an announcement for higher education in directing and screenwriting in Moscow.
Article by Pawel Pawlikowski in The Guardian - read the article
Conversation between Dvortsevoy and Scott Foundas during the New York Film Festival (2008) - see the full interview
Interview in Filmmaker magazine, April 2009 - read the full interview
Interview in DOX, Autumn 2008- read the full interview
2008 TULPAN (100 min)
2004 IN THE DARK / V TEMNOTE (41 min)
1999 HIGHWAY (52 min)
1998 BREAD DAY / CHLEBNYY DEN (54 min)
1997 PARADISE / SCHASTYE (23 min)
SCREENPLAY...Sergey Dvortsevoy, Gennady Ostrovskiy
PRODUCED BY Pandora Film (Germany), Karl Baumgartner
PRODUCERS...Cobra Film (Switzerland), Valerie Fischer
Eurasia Film (Kazakhstan), Gulnara Sarsenova, Bulat Galimgereyev Film Company Slovo (Russia), Sergey Melkumov, Elena Yatsoura
CTB Filmproduction (Russia), Sergey Selyanov
Filmcontract Ltd. (Poland), Henryk Romanowski Pallas Film (Germany), Thanassis Karathanos Pandora Film (Germany), Raimond Goebel
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY...Jola Dylewska PSC
PRODUCTION DESIGNER...Roger Martin
EDITOR...Isabel Meier, Petar Markovic
TECHNICAL DATA Format 35 mm / 1:1.85 / 100 min / Colour /
Dolby Digital / Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles
SAMAL (Asa’s sister)...Samal Yeslyamova
ONDAS (Samal’s husband)...Ondasyn Besikbasov
TULPAN’S FATHER...Amangeldi Nurzhanbayev
TULPAN’S MOTHER...Tazhyban Khalykulova
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
★★★★ “ A weirdly magical debut from Kazakhstan’s Sergei Dvorstsevoy...THE FILM IS IRRESISTIBLY HUMAN AND FUNNY”
Nigel Andrews, FINANCIAL TIMES
“Not only ravishing to look at but exceedingly funny too...ONE OF THE MOST CHARMING FILMS OF THE YEAR.
ON NO ACCOUNT MISS THE CHANCE TO ENJOY IT.”
Derek Malcolm, THE EVENING STANDARD
★★★★★ "IT’S A GORGEOUS, FUNNY STORY...AN ABSOLUTE TREAT...”
Sukhdev Sandhu, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
"Among the year’s most endearing cinematic experiences."
David Jenkins Time Out★★★★
"Sergey Dvortsevoy's beguiling feature debut...
at times slyly witty and at others subtly moving.
Through Asa's eyes we witness the harsh, transformative world of the steppe, which is the movie's always compelling focus."
Kevin Maher, THE TIMES
“Kazakh director SERGEI DVORTSEVOY... he turned to fiction... and he’s still A GENIUS”
Pawel Pawlikowski, The Guardian
“A breath of fresh air…life-affirming…finely-crafted comedy drama”
Nicholas Barber, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
“Extraordinary vitality…a very funny, deadpan and tender comedy”
Laurence Phelan THE INDEPENDENT INFORMATION
“Perceptive and humorous, this gentle drama is uplifting and resonant.”
“An estimable feature debut ...”
“...charmingly absurdist-realist tale of the Kazakh steppe. “
“a revealing portrait of nomadic life in the Central Asian wilderness, with the lengthy lamb-birthing sequence being especially enthralling... a lot of humour, notably involving the hero’s Boney M-loving buddy.”
Patrick Peters, Empire
“a sensitive and...funny human drama.”
“A Herculean task from the director and one that deserves to find an audience. “
Matt, Bochenski, Little White Lies
“...Sergei Dvortsevoy’s remarkable feature debut celebrates the unstinting determination of its characters with affection and humour, whisking into the mix spectacular landscapes, live animal births and Boney M’s ‘Rivers Of Babylon.”
Trevor Johnson, TOTAL FILM
“Charming romantic tale.”
The Guardian Guide - Pick of the Week
“EXTRAORDINARY SCENES ...which make the film’s humour and visual poetry work so well”
A TRIUMPH for its director”
Tony Rayns, Sight & Sound
“A MESMERISING tale”
Keiron Corless, Sight & Sound
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“A poetic fable... a deliciously light touch characterises this dry, deadpan comedy set in the stark and sparsely inhabited steppes of Kazakhstan.’
Dvortsevoy, in his first foray into fiction, knows how to milk laughs and moments of substantial emotional import from tough characterisation, a nice line in absurdism, and unexpected incongruities.’
Geoff Andrew, Time Out
‘Shy courtship, stark landscapes and a spirited supporting cast of livestock make Tulpan a vivid, intensely enjoyable debut feature from former documentarian Sergei Dvortsevoy.’
‘... rapturously received at its screening in Cannes...’
....'vivid, intensely enjoyable' and 'immensely charming...'
Jonathan Romney, Screen - read the full review
'Something of a miracle'
‘...the first fictional feature by the Kazakh director Sergey Dvortsevoy, might be described as an epic landscape film, a sweetly comic coming-of-age story or a lyrical work of social realism...the setting — a windswept, sparely populated steppe in southern Kazakhstan — gives the movie a mood that sometimes feels closer to that of science fiction.
A.O. Scott The New York Times - read the full review
'...achieves an Andrei Tarkovsky like majesty...'
'gentle humour and spectacular cinematography"
Alissa Simon,Variety - read the full review
‘...Dvortsevoy could be the most artistically driven documentary filmmaker since Werner Herzog — living with his subjects for months (and sometimes years) and doing as much of the film work he could himself. He compares his preparation to painting a fresco and insists on shooting film rather than video. This rigorous method ensures a movie the spectator is constantly wondering how the filmmaker contrived to make.
“The most difficult thing for the actors was to be as strong as the animals,” Dvortsevoy told an interviewer, “because all the animals in the film are fantastic, and the actors should not be worse.”
‘In every respect, this unclassifiable movie is an amazing accomplishment.'
Jim Hoberman, LA Weekly - read the full review
'A delightful, audacious comedy that deserves to be celebrated'
Michael Hayden, London Film Festival
"Polished, funny and utterly charming...
Filled with delightful moments...
The acting is sublime"
Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter-read the full review
‘A startlingly accomplished debut dramatic feature, Tulpan is about as true as it gets. Its beauty and simplicity is literally BREATHTAKING - numerous times the audience gasped. I left the movie excited by discovering a new cinematic voice. SUBLIME.’
Timothy Sun, New York Film Festival
Video interview with Scott Foundas at the New York Film Festival in October 2008, where Sergey Dvortsevoy responded to what life was like over the four year process - see the full interview
Karin Badt, The Huffington Post
"REMARKABLE...full of transcendental beautiful moments."
Miranda Siegel, New York Magazine
read the full review