Reviews

Based mainly on published interviews, this short article focuses on Kazakh new wave and history feature films, from the viewpoint of the identity discourse in present-day Kazakh culture. Its originality lies in the parallels drawn by the author between Kazakh cinema and Latin American novel (especially writers like Alejo Carpentier and Gabriel Garcia Marquez) or Kafka’s. Both exerted a direct influence on Kazakh filmmakers of the 1990s in their quest for a “Kazakh post-Soviet self” that comes down to an existentialist crisis, a lost of roots and a search for alternative sources of morals. The cinema conveys representations of individuals no longer connected through a network of values and a sense of community symbolised by the aul (in the films The Last Stop and Aksuat by S. Aprimov, Kairat by D. Omirbaev, etc.). While the major part of films produced in the 1990s de-romanticise former myths, others endeavour to rehabilitate the ‘steppe civilisation’ (Abay by A. Amirkulov, The Youth of Zhambul by K. Kasymbekov) or to deal with the traumatic past of collectivisation (The Angel of Death by D. Manabaev, Zamanai by B. Sharip). Through a short survey of the films of the Kazakh new wave, the article gives the main thematic trends that motivate filmmakers’ reflection on their society.

Cloé Drieu, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-3.4.D-307