Ulzhan : Summary

Length: 105 min. Format: 35mm Cinemascope Colour

World Premiere: 21.05.2007, Cannes, IFF

German Film Award 2005 (golden Film tape, production design Ari Hantke)
Filmfestival St. Petersburg 2006

The endless expanses of Kazakhstan, as far as the eye can see - and beyond.

The Frenchman Charles (Philippe Torreton) is stranded here. A family tragedy has left him with no will to live; it is time to put an end to it all. His aim is the sacred mountain

Khan Tengri where, in times past, the shamans withdrew to die in peace. This stranger has travelled thousands of miles, by plane, car and on foot, and traversed a land now in a state of upheaval. One day, he meets a mysterious character, a shaman called Shakuni (David Bennent) who deals in rare, untranslatable words. By coincidence, Charles lands in a village where he meets the nomad girl Ulzhan (Ayanat Ksenbai) and buys a horse from her to continue his journey. Against his will, the young woman clings to his heels, follows the man sunken in despair through the desolate steppes, through radioactive contaminated testing areas, and through endless oil fields with their drilling derricks rising like ill omens, all the way to the sacred mountain on the border to China. Arriving at the mountain, Charles begs his accomplice one last time to leave him alone once and for all. Before Ulzhan rides down into the valley without turning back, she ties his horse to a rock in the hope that Charles might return…