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Humanities 2018, 7(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020062

Nomadic Life on the Steppes: An Ecocinematic Exploration of Tulpan and Cave of the Yellow Dog

College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599, USA
Received: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Environment—The Cradle of Ecocriticism)
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Abstract

Ecocinema: (1) analyzes the role of visual media in responding to the environmental crisis; (2) has explicit interest in environmental justice; (3) includes a variety of genres and modes of production; (4) informs viewers of issues of ecological importance; (5) promotes ecocentric ways of framing the world; and (6) has an activist agenda. Ecocinema examines films produced by/with historically marginalized communities underrepresented in film. Using Ecocinema and Fourth Cinema (Barclay), I examined two fictional films featuring nomadic peoples of the Central Asian Steppes whose culture and ecologically low impact lifestyle are threatened and fragile in the global order. Tulpan, a 2008 Kazakh/Russian production by Kazakh-born Sergei Dvortsevoy, tells the story of Asa, a young Kazakh man, returning to his home in the Steppes to establish himself as a shepherd with his own flock. Tulpan features the long takes and slow pacing needed to “retrain the perception” of viewers. Tulpan’s biocentric focus on landscape and animals is equivalent to the focus on the human, reconsidering the human/non-human relationship. Tulpan shows one young man dreaming of a meaningful life rooted in his cultural traditions, struggling to locate himself within contemporary economic, political and cultural realities in a region underrepresented in world film. The Cave of the Yellow Dog, 2005, by Mongolian filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa, tells the story of a Mongolian nomadic family. Davaa, similar to Dvortsevoy, works in documentary and fictional films, uses professional and non-professional actors, and relies on Western funding to make her films. These two films suggest that non-commercial fictional films are an important vehicle for addressing global environmental concerns as they present stories of marginalized people and help us imagine solutions to global problems. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecocinema; environmental justice; Kazakhstan; nomads; Fourth Cinema; Dvortsevoy; Davaa ecocinema; environmental justice; Kazakhstan; nomads; Fourth Cinema; Dvortsevoy; Davaa
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Adelman, D. Nomadic Life on the Steppes: An Ecocinematic Exploration of Tulpan and Cave of the Yellow Dog. Humanities 2018, 7, 62.

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