Storm Over Asia . Originally released in 1928, black & white with English subtitles. "Originally Potomak Chingis-khan (The Heir to Genghis Khan), Russian filmmaker V. I. Pudovkin's Storm Over Asia is set in Central Asia in 1920. Valeri Inkijinov plays a young Mongolian trapper ostracized from his village after he is cheated out of a valuable fox fur by a European trader. Becoming a Soviet partisan, the trapper is thrust into prominence when it is learned that he is descended from Genghis Khan. The occupying English army puts the trapper in charge of a puppet Mongolian government. By film's end, however, the "puppet" has cut the strings in a spectacular fashion. "Spectacular" is indeed the appropriate word for this sweeping political drama, which though not a huge success with domestic audiences upon its first release, is now regarded as one of Pudovkin's finest efforts." (Hal Erickson)
Beshkempir: Adopted Son . Originally released in 1998. "Aktan Abdykalykov made his directorial debut with this semi-autobiographical Kirghizian-French drama set in a rural Kirghizian village where young Adyr plays in the brick mudpits, takes an interest in a girl, and attends outdoor movie showings. However, Adyr's pals reject him when it's learned that he's adopted, and more dark clouds hover over Adyr after a death in the family. Filmed in black and white with color inserts, this film played in several 1998 film fests (Locarno, Montreal, Toronto). (Bhob Stewart)" There isn't too much talking in this film, and it is easy to follow. Read a review of Beshkempir by Gulnara Abikeeva with KinoKultura.
Onegin (1999) "Another member of the Fiennes family leaves a mark in the film business, as Martha Fiennes makes her big-screen directorial debut with a screen adaptation of the verse novel by Aleksander Pushkin, with her big brother Ralph Fiennes in the leading role. Onegin (Fiennes) is a blase man who has grown weary of the social whirl of his life in St. Petersburg in the 1820s. Onegin's wealthy uncle has recently passed on, bequeathing him a large estate in the country, where the financially embarrassed Onegin has now chosen to live. Onegin makes fast friends with his neighbor Lensky (Toby Stephens), who introduces Onegin to his fiancee Olga (Lena Headley). Olga in turn introduces him to her mother (Harriet Walker) and her younger sister, Tatyana (Liv Tyler). Onegin finds Tatyana interesting, and she is strongly infatuated with him, finding him coolly attractive and enjoying his straightforward way of expressing himself. Tatyana makes her feelings known to Onegin in a love letter, but he calmly rejects her advances. Lensky senses Tatyana's attraction to Onegin and talks to him about her; Lensky is shocked when Onegin says he regards her as unintelligent, and in a moment of anger Lensky challenges his friend to a duel. Neither man wants to kill the other, but both are too stubborn to back down, and Onegin ends up shooting Lensky, forcing him to flee to parts unknown. Six years later, a older and more humble Onegin re-encounters the married Tatyana and begs her for a second chance." (Mark Deming )
The Caleb Project (http://www.calebresources.org/) is a Christian missionary agency that reaches people in other countries. They offer two videos in regards to Kazak culture, one geared towards children (Kids Around the World) and one for adults. The videos have a strong Christian overtone. They give a brief glimpse into Kazak culture. The Curriculum Supplement that comes with the kids' video is well worth the cost. It would be invaluable to anyone planning a reunion or culture camp. Update January 2016: their website seems to be gone, and I have been unable to find another for them. You may be able to find the videos by searching online.
Herdsmen is a documentary that tracks a Kazak family in Xinjiang, China over the period of one year.
Where Horses Fly Like The Wind: "Here at last are the famous Cossacks! These Kazakhs are the descendants of the Mongols who uphold traditions and routines that are centuries old." Part 11 of The Silk Road. The entire collection of 12 episodes is available on Silk Road Collection . This is a very good video.
Genghis Blues : the story of a blind blues musician's journey to the lost land ot Tuva. Winner of the Audience Award 1999 Sundance and other awards. "The Autonomous Republic of Tuva, wedged between Siberia and Mongolia, for centuries has been isolated from the rest of the world by jagged mountains and Soviet restrictions. Only recently have the Tuvan art form of throatsinging become known to outsiders." You can get more information at the Genghis Blues website .
Marek Gronowski (producer). The Silk Road: a Digital Journey. DNA Multimedia website no longer works, but there is a nice write up on CD Access . I bought the last copy at the only place I could find online selling it, but you may be able to locate one through your local university or library.
Schizo . Synopsis: Director Guka Omarova's coming-of-age story is set in 1990s Kazakhstan. Fourteen-year-old Mustafa (Olzhas Nusuppaev), or "Schizo," lives an unrewarding home life. His mother's boyfriend, a small-time hood, offers him a role in his latest scheme: underground, bare-knuckle boxing matches. After a fighter is killed in the ring, Schizo forms a bond with the fighter's girlfriend (Olga Landina) and son, and a surrogate family is formed. After one of his gambling plans fails, and possible financial disaster looms, he must make decisions that are both noble and wrenching. This movie had a limited showing throughout the US.
Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan ; rent it for $75. "When a Kyrgyz man decides to marry, he often abducts the woman he has chosen. Typically, he and several friends hire a car, stake out his bride-to-be's movements, snatch her off the street, and take her to the groom's family home. A delegation is then sent to her family. The abducted woman is held until someone from her family arrives to determine whether they will accept the "proposal" and she will agree to marry her kidnapper." This documentary examines this practice with interviews with the brides, their families and the in-laws. You can read an interview with the director Petr Lom on Frontline PBS ; this site also includes a video, photo essay and links. You may also find it showing at an International Film Festival or in a university library. Bride kidnapping occurs in a number of the Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan.
Long Way Round is a documentary detailing the 20,000-mile motorcycle trip Ewan McGregor took around the world with best friend Charley Boorman over 115 days. Their trip took them from London through locales such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, and Canada, to name a few, before ending in New York.
YouTube : I am sure that you can search and find more than these.
Daily Motion is another video sharing site. They have a lot of B*rat (dont' want to spell it so that it doesn't show up in a search), but they do have others mixed in.
Yahoo! Video also has videos that people have uploaded.
The Cave of the Yellow Dog : "A Mongolian nomad family find themselves in disagreement when the oldest daughter, Nansal, finds a dog and brings it home. Believing that it is responsible for attacking his sheep, her father refuses to allow her to keep it. When it's time for the family to move on, Nansal must decide whether to defy her father and take her new friend with them." It had a limited theatrical release in the US in late 2006. From the director of The Story of the Weeping Camel.
Kiran Over Mongolia , a film about tells the story of a young Kazakh boy who leaves Mongolia's capital to learn his grandfather's tradition of hunting with eagles. Set against some of the most foreboding, yet austerely majestic mountains in the world, the film explores the beautiful relationships between eagle and master, and master and apprentice. 'KIRAN' captures the essence of Kazakh culture, which has been preserved during seventy years of isolation in the far west of Mongolia.
Nomad : An historical epic set in 18th-century Kazakhstan, where a young man is destined to unite the country's three warring tribes. A little more information is available on the Internet Movie Database . It had a limited US release. You can watch a version online at Veoh Video Network: Nomad Part 1 and Nomad Part 2 . Read a review of Nomad by Gulnara Abikeeva from KinoKultura.
Ulzhan, directed by Volker Schlondorff, was shown at Cannes in 2007. "A man named Charles leaves his country, France, for Kazakhstan. His initial contacts in this unfamiliar country are surprising; history has advanced faster than he'd imagined... An unexpected meeting with Ulzhan changes the direction of his life." I couldn't find an online source for it.
Leila's Prayer, a drama set in the 1960s, filmed in Kazakhstan in 2002. "Leila is a simple shepherdess who spends her days in the steppes. Childishly she watches the nuclear explosions as if they were fireworks, with their mushroom effects, but doesn't yet sense the life-threatening danger the explosions will bring. Her thoughts turn to prayers for all the people living around her - an old Jew, a German, Kazakhs, Russians and Tadjiks - and for all mankind." A little information about the filming is on available on the Kodak website . I couldn't find an online source to purchase it.
Koryo Saram - The Unreliable People is a documentary about the 200,000 ethnic Koreans who were deported to Kazakhstan by Stalin in 1937. Directed by Y. David Chung of the University of Michigan.
Mongol recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world including Russia in 1206. It had a limited release in the US in 2008. Rated R for graphic violence.
Tulpan limited release in the US in 2009. "Following his Russian naval service, young dreamer Asa returns to his sister's nomadic brood on the desolate Hunger Steppe to begin a hardscrabble career as a shepherd. But before he can tend a flock of his own, Asa must win the hand of the only eligible bachelorette for miles, his alluringly mysterious neighbor Tulpan. Accompanied by his girlie mag-reading sidekick Boni (and a menagerie of adorable lambs, stampeding camels, mewling kittens and mischievous children), Asa will stop at nothing to prove he is a worthy husband and herder. In the tradition of such crowd-pleasing travelogues as The Story of the Weeping Camel, Tulpan's gentle humor and stunning photography transport audiences to this singular, harshly beautiful region and its rapidly vanishing way of life." Winner at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. You can order a DVD from their website.
KinoKultura does reviews on Russian and Central Asian films.
Listed here are various shows that have aired that concern Kazakhstan or Central Asia. Copies may be available from the producer.
The Kazakhs of China : film made for the Disappearing World series by Granada Television in 1983; "gives an understanding not only of a traditional Kazakh society, but also of current changes, and of the conflicts of domination and independence" in China. (UK)
Lonely Planet (TV) did a show on Central Asia: Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan in 1997. "Join in the evening entertainments which include ram butting and wrestling. Meet an eagle trainer. Hitch a ride on an old Red Army helicopter. Go on a horsetrek and meet nomadic shepherds, share a meal and eat a sheep's eye." Do an internet search for "central asia" and "lonely planet" to find an online source.
PBS did a show Wild Horses of Mongolia, with Julia Roberts . I found it very interesting.
Discovery Channel did a show on Nov. 13 & 18, 2000, titled: "Sci-Trek, Tomb of the Warrior Prince". Twelve gilded horses, sacrificed on Mount Altai in Kazakhstan, offer the first of many clues to the lives of ancient nomads, the Sakas. A 4th century B.C. tomb, preserved in ice and undisturbed by looters, paints a detailed picture of their culture. They also aired a show in 1994 titled "Mountains of the Snow Leopard".
Globe Trekker: Central Asia: UK "Lonely Planet" type travel show, covers Uzbekistan and Kirghistan. Released September 24, 2002. A copy may be available from the Globe Trekker Store .
Amazon Warrior Women is one of the episodes of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead, originally shown in 2004. In it, a scientist finds a genetic link between a blond haired girl living in Mongolia and Amazon women buried in the steppes of southern Russia. They believe that the Amazons married Scythian men, moved to the steppes, and evolved into the Sauromatian culture in the 6th to the 4th century B.C. The Sauromatians evolved into the Sarmatian culture, which was overtaken by the Huns in 370 A.D. The Russian city where the tombs were found, Prokhorovka, is near the border with Ukraine. See the About Amazon Warrior Women on the PBS website for more information.