Friday, November 28, 2008

“Gift to Stalin”

I have educated in myself a habit of reading every Sunday the weekly online economical newspapers on what’s happening in my country – same headlines as in any newspaper, magazine in the world with the financial crisis, how it affects the country, how the government is managing current situation not be crashed down in financial crisis much, investing, buying shares of banks etc.

But recently, I have been checking the cultural part of the headlines, and got to know, that one of our Kazakh film director has been produced a new movie “Gift to Stalin, which was officially launched at International Film Fesival in Seoul, in October . Well, not every even year our country is producing the movies for public, the good ones. For now, I haven’t had an opportunity to watch it, but read a lot about the content and feedback of people.

“Set in Kazakhstan in 1949, during a time when minorities were forced to move to central Asia by the former Soviet government. A Jewish kid named Sashka is on a train with his grandfather, being deported with others. His grandfather dies on the train and he has to get off with the body at a small village. He meets an old man, Kasym, and stays with him. But the tragedy is upon the village. Every villager is killed and only Sashka survived.

"The Gift to Stalin" is a story about a little boy Sasha who was sent to Kazakhstan. He was saved from death by an old Kazakh man, Kasym, who took the boy to his home. The film is set in 1949. The title, The Gift to Stalin has two significances. In 1949, Soviet government carried out a nuclear test for anniversary of Stalin’s 70th birthday. Many innocent people fell the victims to the nuclear test. The other significance is about Sashka’s dream - he hoped that if he gives Stalin a gift, he will be able to see his parents again not knowing that they were killed.

I would say that I’m really proud, that the movie is not only showing the realities of my country during Stalin times – nuclear testing which is still affecting the country's ecological situation and people’s health, but also highlights one of the key cultural aspects Kazakh people had for centuries – hospitality, open-mindness… That’s why I’m still admire that having currently more than 120 nationalities in one country – Kazakh, Russians, Jewish, Tatar, Turkish, Koreans, Ukrainian, Germans etc., we live in piece all together and haven’t experienced any cultural misunderstandings or whatever. The key word here is tolerance... 

Looking forward to watch this movie back home…

Kazakhstanis, be proud of yourself and keep the same way… We were born in a unique environment, really.