The Last Stop (Terminus), 1987 / The Watchman (The Guard), 1989 / The Apple, 2003

The Last Stop (Terminus), 1987 (Serik Aprimov)

In an early episode in The Last Stop, a young man, newly discharged from the Soviet army visits his relatives and inquires about what has happened in the bucolic town during his absence, to which his extended family responds “Nothing happens here. We live.” Considered to be the first perestroika film, The Last Stop consists of a series of reunions with family and friends as he spends an aimless day attempting to readjust to his former life and assessing his future in his rural hometown where poverty, unemployment, drunkenness, and interminable boredom are endemic to the villagers’ way of life. Aprimov’s use of languid pacing, spare, natural landscapes, and dialogistic (and occasionally amusing) encounters invites comparison to the films of Abbas Kiarostami, but his sense of cultural intimacy for village life and affectionate concern for the limited opportunities of its inhabitants are distinctively native.

 

The Watchman (The Guard), 1989 (Beyzhan Aidkuluev)

Consisting of concentrated, visually striking, and evocative natural imagery, The Watchman is an indelible portrait of a robust, elderly, one-legged man as he traverses the austere, yet beautiful landscape of his quaint Kyrghyz village. Slightly reminiscent of Aleksandr Sokurov’s impressionistic and elegiac tone poems (particularly Oriental Elegy, but with less opacity and more instinctual cohesion), the film is a haunting and sublime meditation on natural communion, transience, and cultural extinction.

 

The Apple, 2003 (Abay Kulbaev)

The Apple is a charming and playfully ironic short film on a man (played by filmmaker Darezhan Omirbaev) casually picking berries on a hill who becomes drawn to the amusing sight of a young boy attempting to reach an apple that is tantalizingly just out of his reach.

© Acquarello 2003. All rights reserved.

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