Films & Schedules

  • Tulpan

  • Sergey Dvortsevoy

Germany/Switzerland/ Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland
Kazakh, Russian
100 minutes

Production Company:
Pandora Film Produktion/Cobra Film/Eurasia Film/ Film Company Slovo/CTB Filmproduction/ Filmcontract Ltd./Pallas Film
Karl Baumgartner
Sergey Dvortsevoy, Gennady Ostrovskiy
Production Designer:
Roger Martin
Jola Dylewska
Isabel Meier, Petar Markovic
Principal Cast: Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Samal Yeslyamova, Ondasyn Besikbasov, Tulepbergen Baisakalov, Bereke Turganbayev

Canadian Distributor:
Mongrel Media
International Sales Agent:
The Match Factory GmbH

Monday September 0806:15PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1003:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Writer-director Sergey Dvortsevoy's first feature film, Tulpan, charms with its deceptively straightforward narrative. This amusing tale presents a fresh perspective on a simple love story, adding a striking landscape, tender intimacy and an endless menagerie of exotic animals.

After his discharge from the Russian naval service, young Asa (Askhat Kuchinchirekov) travels back to southern Kazakhstan's distant Hunger Steppe in order to join his nomadic older sister and her laconic herdsman husband. Yearning to become a shepherd like his brother-in-law, Asa learns from his family that he must be married before he can attain this particular occupation, and soon begins fantasizing about finding a wife. Unfortunately, the only available prospect for marriage is Tulpan, the daughter of another shepherd family and the only unmarried girl in the area. Longing to leave the steppe and go off to college, she tells her parents to reject Asa, declaring that his ears are too big. This setback does not deter Asa, however, who clings to the hope of an existence that may not be achievable on the steppe. With the help of an eccentric friend, reggae and pop-music enthusiast Boni (Tulepbergen Baisakalov), Asa attempts to prove to his brother-in-law that he is indeed a skilled shepherd and, additionally, tries to convince Tulpan's parents that he is a worthy suitor.

Tulpan boasts exquisite cinematography, authentic performances, engaging drama and witty cinematic flourishes. Dvortsevoy cleverly holds back from actually showing the title character, making her mystique seem especially elusive. Though rooted in solid social and ethnological examination, Tulpan is possessed of a delightful sense of play. This is a charming, accessible film for all audiences.

Dimitri Eipides

Sergey Dvortsevoy was born in Chimkent, Kazakhstan. His nine-year career in aviation engineering ended when he arbitrarily applied to and attended Moscow's Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VKIG). He has directed four critically acclaimed documentary films: Paradise (97), Bread Day (98), Highway (99) and In the Dark (04). Tulpan (08), which won the Un Certain Regard Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is his first feature film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award