Song from the Southern Seas (image 1)

Sarulu's gorgeous, wonderfully acted film... mingles everyday brutality with the most sublime expressions of feeling.

Museum of Modern Art, NY

Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Song from the Southern Seas 2008

Pesni juzhnykh morej

Directed by Marat Sarulu

Counteracting the damage wrought to the national image by Borat, here’s a smart, completely engaging film from Kazakhstan that brings humour and the civilising values of a rich traditional culture to its fable-like tale of neighbouring couples.

France / Germany / Kazakhstan / Russia In Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles
84 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Sain Gabdullin
,
Karsten Stöter
,
Benny Drechsel
,
Yuri Obukhov
,
Guilliaume de Seille

Photography

Georgy Beridze

Editor

Karl Riedl

Art directors

Erwin Prib
,
Sergei Bulavin

Sound

Jörg Theil

Music

Andrey Siegle

With

Vladimir Yavorsky
,
Irina Ageikina
,
Jaidarbek Kunghuzhinov
,
Aijan Aitenova

Festivals

Pusan 2008; Rotterdam 2009

Elsewhere

Counteracting the damage wrought to the national image by Borat, here’s a smart, appealing film from Kazakhstan that brings humour and the civilizing values of a rich traditional culture to its fable-like tale. Two couples, one Russian and one Kazakhstani, were neighbours in a beautiful region adjoining the arid grasslands of the Great Steppe. Miles from anyone else the couples lived in intimate proximity, sharing one another’s joys and woes. Then the fair-skinned Russians gave birth to a boy with a decidedly Kazakh complexion… Fifteen years later it may be time for reconciliation. — BG

“Engaging sensitive and oft-divisive material such as national insecurity about race, the tenuous link between blood-lines and religion, and the role of women in a male-dominated society, the film manages a light touch that adroitly balances a painful history… with a generous dose of universally affecting humor.” — Ilya Tovbis, indieWIRE