Гибел Отрара (The Fall of Otrar) 1991 Ages 18+

2.00PM Sat 20 Mar 2021 (2hrs 37mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

'I wanted to express my pain for us, the Kazakh people. The ancient city of Otrar was the cradle of our civilization, and we still haven't climbed out from its ruins.' - Ardak Amirkulov

The Fall of Otrar will screen from a digital restoration provided by the filmmaker.

The astonishing epic The Fall of Otrar was directed by Kazakh filmmaker Ardak Amirkulov, a former student of Aleksei German. The film was written and produced by German, along with his wife and artistic collaborator Svetlana Karmalita.

Set in the 13th century, it is the story of the Central Asian city of Otrar and its destruction at the hands of Genghis Khan’s army. The film follows Mongol warrior Undzhu (played by Dokhdurbek Kydyraliyev in an electric, Mifune-esque performance) who attempts to advise the region’s Shah that Khan’s unstoppable army approaches Otrar. Ignoring his warnings, the Shah has Khan’s envoys slaughtered, inviting the ire of the ruthless warlord and leading to the catastrophic siege of the city.

Amirkulov’s film is a vivid and often bloodthirsty affair imbued with rich historical detail. It has a striking visual palette that moves between colour and a sepia-soaked monochrome, giving the film a hypnotic and sometimes hallucinatory feeling as it roams through shadowy courts and across snow-covered plains. The brutal quashing of a burgeoning civilisation is a seeming precursor to German’s later work Hard to Be a God 2013 – as is the deeply unromantic depiction of medieval life, with squalor and violence surrounding tiny pockets of opulence.

The Fall of Otrar is an extraordinary achievement and a cornerstone of the Kazakh New Wave movement of the 1990s. In telling the story of Otrar, the film recaptures a piece of cultural heritage, exploring a history and ethnic identity quashed during Kazakhstan’s incorporation into the Soviet Union. Championed in the past by Martin Scorsese, the film merges the prodigious talents of German, Karmalita and Amirkulov into a powerful and unique cinema experience.

CREDITS

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOUR, MONO, 176 MINUTES, KAZAKHSTAN, MONGOLIAN/KAZAKH/MANDARIN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: ARDAK AMIRKULOV / SCRIPT: ALEKSEI GERMAN, SVETLANA KARMALITA / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: SAPAR KOICHUMANOV, AUBAKIR SULEYEV / EDITOR: G KYSTAUOVA / PROD CO: KAZAKHFILM STUDIOS / PRINT SOURCE: ARDAK AMIRKULOV / RIGHTS: SEAGULL FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: DCP