Gulzat Egemberdieva & Chubak Egemberdiev
Digital HD, color & black & white, approx. 60 min.
A documentary film project about a group of Pamir Kyrgyz who recently left their high-mountain pastures to integrate Kyrgyz society after a hundred years of exile on the border of Afghanistan and Tadjikistan.
In the early twentieth century, a number of Kyrgyz nomads found themselves trapped in the Pamir mountain range because of the geopolitical changes of the region, including the territorial divisions following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the establishment of an independent state in Afghanistan. After about a hundred years, in October 2017, a first group of 30 Pamir Kyrgyz left their yurts for the village of Kulanak in the Naryn Region of Kyrgyzstan, a “return” that is a time machine of sorts. The film documents the first weeks and months of their life in Kulanak. Lodged on the fourth floor of a former Soviet dormitory, they are instructed to read and write their own language in Cyrillic script. They encounter many challenges in their new “homeland,” itself at grips with the Soviet past and the dictates of modernization and globalization. Will they stay and adapt?
Is a return possible?
Our film attempts to answer this question by confronting three lenses—that of the Pamir Kyrgyz themselves, who filmed their life in the Pamir and their travel to their mythical homeland; that of the media of the Kyrgyz state, filming the return of its lost children; and our own camera, capturing moments of the problematic sojourn of the Pamir Kyrgyz on the fourth floor of their temporary home.