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Fight for freedom, fight for Oscar: Kazakhstan nominates Yerzhan Turunov's Stranger

27 august 2015, 20:07
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Photo © Tursunovfilm
Photo © Tursunovfilm

Kazakhstan has nominated Yerzhan Tursynov's film Stranger (Zhat) for Oscar, Tengrinews reports citing Hollywood Reporter.

The film is based on a true story of a man named Ilyas who left for the mountains and became a hermit in a protest against social and government pressure. Stranger is set in 1930, the time of hunger, collectivization and repressions. The period is remembered in the Kazakh history as a time when the people with centuries-long nomadic history were forced to settle down in villages and towns. The decision to leave the society becomes the protagonist's way to retain his freedom within the new conditions imposed on the society.

The film director started working on the script 25 years ago. The Stranger script was Tursunov's graduate work for VGIK.

Stranger was filmed in the mountains near Almaty. The filming completed in November 2014. Yerzhan Nurymbet from Yerzhanov's Kelin played the main role. Yerbolat Toguzakov, Elina Abaikyzy, Kuandyk Kystybayev, Alexander Karpov and Rosa Khairullina, too, took part in the Stranger film. Kuat Shildebayev composed music for the film.

Tursunov is known for his wide angle long shots of nature.The stylistic decisions made in Stranger are reminiscent of the director's previous works Kelin and Shal (The Old Man) yet present a different dynamics in terms of shot durations and light. In a sense, Turunov's work tends to combine wide angle shots of dominant nature scenes that belittle a human with almost theatre-like scenes that bring back the focus to character as a focal point of the frame.    

Stranger is Tursynov's third film nominated for the best foreign Oscar by Kazakhstan. Kelin was shortlisted for Oscar in 2010, while Shal was presented for the award in 2013.

The film premiers at the Toronto Film Festival ( Contemporary world cinema) this fall.  

By Gyuzel Kamalova


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