VIDEO: The trailer for Tulpan
Borat notwithstanding, movies from Kazakhstan have their share of funny moments. In Sergei Dvortsevoy's nomadic romantic comedy, the image of a baby camel, its neck bandaged, being driven through the desert in an ambulance and pursued by its pissed-off mother is surreal and hilarious.
The story has Asa (Askhat Kuchinchirekov), freshly demobbed from the Russian Navy, finding the readjustment to his hardscrabble, oddball environment a little awkward. He wants to get married and settle down with his own yurt and flock of sheep. But despite the appeal of his fancy sailor suit and his spurious tales of world travel, his jug ears put off his first choice for a wife, the elusive local beauty (Tulip) of the title.
Episodic broad comedy and offhand, uncanny details punctuate the stretches of dusty space, and Dvortsevoy's wry and discerning eye (he's known for his documentaries) makes this story of human aspiration both achingly familiar and hauntingly strange.