Director – Ardak Amirkulov – 2023 – Kazakhstan – Cert. none – 108m
A Kazakh mother made homeless by Soviet policy must protect her two sons in the harsh environment of the Steppes – premieres in the Critics’ Picks Competition at the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
An historical, period, survival movie. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Soviet forced collectivisation polices, intended to have a levelling effect, instead forced Kazakh peasants off the land and led to the famine of the early 1930s. People were reduced to eating livestock essential for agricultural production, not to mention each other.
In a barren Steppes landscape loosely reminiscent of the Spaghetti Western, mother Jupar and her two pre-teenage sons Jolan and Boshay must survive mounted gunmen, starvation, extreme weather, wolves, and hungry fellow human beings. Jupar carries a concealed knife within her clothing and will stop at nothing to protect her kids in one of the most powerful expressions of motherhood ever to grace the screen.
Their seeming nomadic existence is however not without purpose; she has to get them to the eponymous Land, the village where she was born, and safety. Yet the dangers they face on the way are legion.… Read the rest