Highway/Paradise

  • 1999
  • 1 HR 22 MIN
  • NR
  • Documentary

The hard-knock lives of two very different nomadic families from the remote Central-Asian republic of Kazakhstan are brought to the screen in these two spellbinding short documentaries from young Russian director Sergey Dvortsevoy. In the 25-minute "Paradise" (1995), Dvortsevoy captures a Kazakhi shepherd and his family as they eat, sleep, tend to their...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

The hard-knock lives of two very different nomadic families from the remote Central-Asian republic of Kazakhstan are brought to the screen in these two spellbinding short documentaries from young Russian director Sergey Dvortsevoy. In the 25-minute "Paradise"

(1995), Dvortsevoy captures a Kazakhi shepherd and his family as they eat, sleep, tend to their flocks and prepare to leave their stone hut for grassier plains. Told in a series of thirty handsomely composed scenes that range from touching to the mundane, the film reveals all the deprivation,

despair and occasional happiness of itinerant Kazakhi life. Dwarfed by the windy steppes of the southern Kazakhstanian mountains, the family pulls together to help free a cow whose head is caught in a milk can. In the film's most revealing moment, the shepherd's brother-in-law vows to leave for

the city, swearing he'd rather die than continue living this way. Dvortsevoy's hour-long "Highway" (1999) also focuses on a Kazakhi family on the move, but here they're traveling circus performers. The Tadjibajevs -- father, mother, five sons and one daughter -- travel the dusty highways between

Central Asia and Russia in a rusted, hand-cranked minibus, stopping to perform tricks for fellow travelers. It's not much of an act -- the youngest children walk on broken glass; the eldest swings a heavy steel ball from his teeth while his father whacks it with a mallet; all the kids pile into a

shaky human pyramid -- and Dvortsevoy is careful not to romanticize their life on the road. The children laugh and argue, and the discovery of an injured baby eagle brings a bit of excitement into their lives, but their mother is visibly depressed and never leaves the bus. Each time, the

dilapidated caravan takes longer to start, ominously foretelling the time when the family's sole means of support will be gone. (In Kazakh, with English subtitles.)

Watch This Now!

Your new favorite show is right here. Trust us.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The hard-knock lives of two very different nomadic families from the remote Central-Asian republic of Kazakhstan are brought to the screen in these two spellbinding short documentaries from young Russian director Sergey Dvortsevoy. In the 25-minute "Paradi… (more)
Producer
Cinematographer
Cinematographer
Cinematographer
Cinematographer

Show More »