Rustam Ibragimbekov

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Nomad Review


Weak
I get the sense that the story of the making of Nomad is far more interesting than the film itself. Shot in Kazakhstan over the course of two years (weather and funding caused delays) with the urging of the Kazakh president, acquired and doctored by Harvey Weinstein, and starring a cast of Americans speaking Kazakh and Kazakhs speaking English with assorted in-line dubbing all over the place (Bai Ling!), this horse-and-yurt epic is picturesque but baffling. What was behind it all? An attempt to recover the dignity of the Kazakh people after the PR debable of Borat?

As for the end product: Nomad will appeal mainly to two small special-interest groups: those with a fascination for 18th century Central Asian geopolitics, and those with a fascination for costume design. Also, people who like swords and horses.

Continue reading: Nomad Review

East/west Review


Essential
Academy Award-winning director Régis Wargnier (Indochine, A French Woman, Lumiere and Company) returns to the Oscar-caliber arena with this multilingual period drama about a family lured back to Stalinist Russia under a false promise of amnesty. Wargnier's nomination for East-West is certainly deserved.

Russian emigrants Alexei (Oleg Menchikov--Barber of Siberia, The Kiss) and Marie Golovine (Sandrine Bonnaire--Circle of Passion, Les Innocents) receive a disappointing welcome when they step off the boat in Odessa with their young son, Serioja (played by Ruben Tapiero and Erwan Baynaud). But, because of Alexei's medical skills, the family is spared execution and shipped off to Kiev to share meager quarters with a household of alcoholic miscreants--including a strapping young swimmer named Sacha (Serguei Bodrov Jr.) Wracked with guilt over the miscalculation that has landed his family in captivity, Alexei struggles to protect his foreign-born wife while avoiding the scrutiny of a fear-ridden polity. Hope stirs when French actress Gabrielle Develay (Catherine Deneuve--Indochine, The Hunger, The Last Metro, Belle De Jour) comes to perform in the local theater.

Continue reading: East/west Review

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