Tengri: Blue Heavens
2008, Kyrgyzstan-France, 105’, Color, Kyrgyz
Director: Marie Jaoul de Poncheville
Cast: Albina Imasheva, Elim Kalmouratov,Hélène Patarot, Taalai Abazova, Aibek Midin Uulu,Busurman Odurakaev, Askat Sulaimanov
In honor of Cengiz Aytmatov…
Inspired by world famous Kyrgyz writer Cengiz Aytmatov’s story “Cemille,” Tengri was part of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival “Cinema de la Plage” section. The film enchants with its passionate love story, unparalleled cinematography and incredible music.
Director Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville‘s intimate knowledge of central Asia provides an authentic view of the locals and the land that surround Tengri: Blue Heavens. Set in a modern-day Kyrgyz village where yurts and traditional roles for men and women are still the standard, we are swept up in a visually arresting landscape that seems suspended in time. Temur, who has been working abroad, returns to his ancestral village in search of his roots. Though his family is no longer there, the villagers accept him as one of their own. He soon finds himself attracted to a local woman, Amira, who is married to a man fighting with the Mujihedeen in Afghanistan. Despite trying to resist their attraction, the two are soon lovers. They attempt to hide their affair with failed results. Amira’s husband hears of the betrayal and stops waging jihad to track the lovers through the mountains and steppes. Through folklore, costume, a variety of languages, and rugged scenery, de Poncheville paints the local culture and environment with a rich palette, giving us a drama of forbidden love enriched by its depth and authenticity.