Oz Asia Festival – 2016 – Stranger – Emek Tursunov – 4K

By Tom Eckert



Stranger is the completion of Ermek Tursunov’s trilogy examining the Kazakh identity.

Whilst described as apolitical by the director, Stranger is set in the times leading up to world war two after its protagonist defies to Soviet Union by not serving in the military following a situation where his father dies following arrest by Soviet authorities.

This comes at a pertinent time I Kazakhstan as, rich in natural resources including uranium and oil, it is perpetually under threat of annexation by Russia as recently happened in Crimea.

Politics aside, this film is an exploration of the human condition, and especially  the Kazakh culture placed in conflict with authority and ideology incompatible with their nomadic ways.

The protagonist could be considered in one reading to represent these traditions and to be a metaphor for the necessity to resist the influences of the forces that threaten that culture.

In addition to the thematic content, the cinematography is stunning. Eschewing computer generated environments for the real thing, Tursunov provides the audience with a striking palette in the foliage of the Kazakh hinterlands as well as the crystalline ephemera of the snow crusted tundra.

Allowing the audience to touch a more primal element of themselves through the life of his protagonist, Tursunov, despite claims to the contrary, also makes commentary on the current geopolitical standing of his home nation.

Kryztoff rating: 4K


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