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Tulpan (2009)



Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 68
Fresh: 65 | Rotten: 3

Kazakh sheep herders get their cinematic due in this lovely, unsentimental debut from director Sergei Dvortsevoy.


Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

Kazakh sheep herders get their cinematic due in this lovely, unsentimental debut from director Sergei Dvortsevoy.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 2,834

My Rating

Movie Info

Big ears can be a real problem. Asa, our hero, never thought about it until he considered the idea of marriage.

Sep 22, 2009

Zeitgeist Films

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All Critics (70) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (3) | DVD (1)

Dvortsevoy exhibits the storytelling composure and technical proficiency of a veteran, while his keen eye for a pastoral poetic flourish places 'Tulpan' firmly among the year's most endearing cinematic experiences.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A coming-of-age story that also examines the pull and push of the modern and traditional, Tulpan is a striking, unique, narrative feature debut for director-writer Sergei Dvortsevoy.

July 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The latest import from the steppes of the former Soviet empire is Tulpan, a bittersweet slice of life with a sweet center.

July 3, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you surrender to its pace, Tulpan can be intoxicating; it's like nothing else in theaters.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quite extraordinary. Gently comic, ultimately stirring, the nomadic world Dvortsevoy chronicles pays loving attention to the lives of both humans and animals -- interdependent residents in a difficult, memorable part of the world.

June 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tulpan is an amazing film. It shows such an unfamiliar world, it might as well be Mars.

June 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (6)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

But in addition to the brutality of Tulpan's environment, and its merciless impress on the inhabitants, the film succeeds foremost, most surprisingly, as comedy. The trials and tribulations of Asa are worthy of Samuel Beckett.

June 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Finally, a Kazakh character to cheer for!

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source:

The film's pervasive (and downright aggressive) lack of plot undoubtedly exacerbates its problems...

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (2)
Reel Film Reviews

Uma obra absolutamente mágica.

May 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Perceptive and humorous, this gentle drama is uplifting and resonant.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

[A] beguiling feature debut.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

An eminently lovable film.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian

A gorgeously-shot and often-funny story... An absolute treat.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Investing the ethnographic documentary with sly wit and wry absurdity, Sergei Dvortsevoy's Tulpan is a quiet revelation.

November 13, 2009
Little White Lies

An irresistible mix of whimsical and raucous humour that leavens the bleakness of that environment

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The film is irresistibly human and funny, and properly momentous when calamity strikes.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Feels more like something from National Geographic than a feature film. For some, the lamb-birthing scene will be a steppe too far.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent | Comment (1)

An emotionally engaging drama that succeeds thanks to its combination of offbeat humour and intriguing characters, set against an almost impossibly bleak landscape.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Features situations that are recognisable simply because the people involved are so realistic.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

While it is no documentary, this lovingly made film captures a culture and a rural way of life with a mix of realism and poetry.

September 21, 2009 Full Review Source:

With this harsh and beautiful backdrop so attentively rendered, at once otherworldly and palpable, the desires of Tulpan's characters become almost metaphysical imperatives.

August 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Reverse Shot
Reverse Shot

Interesting is the drama's portrayal of a culture that's been spoofed and parodied by other features, including the aforementioned 'mockumentary.'

July 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Tulpan

A gentle and simplistic comedy that almost feels unscripted, like a documentary, rather than a feature film. There is quite a lot of warmth and tenderness in the Baron backdrop of the teppes of Kazakhstan. It's actually very funny and the script is wickedly funny. Askhat Kuchencherekov is great as the big eared man in turmoil but it is Tolepbergen Baisakalov as Boni who really steals the show.
February 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Tulpan," Asa(Askhat Kuchinchirekov) is home from the navy and is seeking a wife, so he can get a flock of his own from his brother-in-law Ondas(Ondasyn Besikbasov) who feels that a herdsman cannot survive without a wife to take care of the domestic duties that are required, not to mention the whole business of having children and raising a family. At the same time, the sheep are having no problem getting pregnant, but are having a great deal of difficulty giving birth to live offspring which endangers the livelihood of the shepherds living on the desolate Kazakh steppe who have never seen an ocean, much less a body of water. So, when Tulpan rejects Asa as a husband, it is not because of physical appearance, it is because of what kind of husband he would make and what kind of future they would have together. Along those same lines, Asa is considering moving to the city with his pal Boni(Tulepbergen Baisakalov).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]If only the story had been stronger and photography had been better, "Tulpan" might have been truly something. Handheld photography is meant for intimacy and works best inside, whereas here the terrain should have been one of the central points of interest. As it is, it is a fairly interesting look at a different way of life.[/font]
April 5, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

An interesting tale of the true other words the non Borat version. After being taken with the intriguing people of the Steppe, the film drifts slightly and is inconsistent. Attention span alert for those easily distracted..give it a skip.
January 20, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A drama about rural life in the Kazakhstan Hunger Steppe. Living with his sisters family, brother Asa attempts to marry the only eligible woman around, so he can become a herdsman, while everyone else attempts to get by in the barren wasteland, by tending the sheep, listening to Boney M played loud, reciting the day's radio news or pretending a stick is a horse (little Nuka roams around the film set, oblivious to everything) . All the actors bar one had no acting experience so the film feels like more of a documentary than a fiction, and the story is good, and gently humourous. And it will definitely improve your knowledge of Kazakhstan if all you've watched so far is BORAT.

June 24, 2010
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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