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still Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, DE/KZ/PL/CH/RU 2008)


Sergei Dvortsevoy / DE, KZ, PL, CH, RU, 2008 / 100 min.

Saodat Ismailova selected films that inspired her for her exhibition at Eye. Tulpan is a captivating mix of subtle humour, documentary and gorgeous landscape shots of the impressive Hunger Steppes of Kazakhstan, replete with sandy vistas.

poster Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, DE/KZ/PL/CH/RU 2008)

Especially for her exhibition 18,000 Worlds, Saodat Ismailova selected films that provide an impression of the unfortunately unknown, yet exceptional cinematic history of Central Asia. For many years, filmmakers had to tow the line with Soviet ideology. Within these constraints, they developed their own way of portraying their countries, stories and culture. This created a unique cinematic legacy, the majority of which has never been seen outside the former Soviet Union. This film programme is an ode to the inspiring filmmakers from the region who, despite all the challenges, always continued to make films.

Saodat Ismailova about Tulpan: “I think the audience will have lots of moments to laugh, and to enjoy and to love it – you cannot not love this film. Sergej Dvortsevoj observes the lives of nomads in Kazachstan with his fabulous eye for detail, working with plenty of non-professional actors. He is internationally known, but his films are always dedicated to Central Asia.”

About the film

After military service, Asa returns to his sister and her husband, nomadic sheep herders. His life’s dream, his own herd. Can only come true if Asa finds a woman. However, the only woman for miles around is Tulpan and she has other plans. She wants to study in the hope of creating a better life for herself, far from the steppes. She also thinks Asa is jug-eared. However, Asa perseveres.

Director Sergej Dvortsevoj, originally a documentary maker, was just in time to record a dying culture, illuminated by his Chaplinesque sense of humour. He camped out on the steppes, sometimes waiting for months for the right weather conditions for a particular scene. Cannes justifiably awarded him with the grand prize. Tulpan was released by Eye Distributie in the Netherlands.

Check out the exhibition page for the other audience programmes accompanying the exhibition and the screenings of Central Asian films. Films specially selected for 18,000 Worlds can also be viewed on the Eye Film Player.

This is part of



Sergei Dvortsevoy

Production year




Original title



100 min.


Kazakh, Russian





Part of

Saodat Ismailova

In 18,000 Worlds, Saodat Ismailova explores the invisible foundations of Central Asia. Moving from personal to collective memory, she connects myths from the region to its recent history and addresses its spiritual heritage for healing. In 2022, the artist and filmmaker received the Eye Art & Film Prize for her oeuvre, in which she devotes attention to the complex, layered culture of her motherland. This is her first major retrospective exhibition.

Learn more
campaign image Saodat Ismailova 18,000 Worlds
still Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, DE/KZ/PL/CH/RU 2008)
still Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, DE/KZ/PL/CH/RU 2008)
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