Archive of films My Brother Silk Road / Altyn Kyrghol

Kyrgyzstan / Kazakhstan
2001, 80 min

Section: East of the West
Year: 2002

Village children indulge their fantasies watching express trains speeding through the landscape. They are as yet unaware how much evil their longed for civilisation has unleashed in the souls of the people passing them by in their elegant train carriages. Perhaps an artist thrown off the train will have the chance to explain to at least one of the boys the great value he ascribes to enduring tradition.


The Silk Road once ran through the Kirghiz Steppe, now divided by a railway line. The express trains passing through fascinate the children from a remote village, who dream that one day they will be taken off to a wonderful place…. A small drama involving a random group of passengers unfolds in one of the express trains – the symbols of a coveted civilised life. An artist, returning home after many years, sketches their faces. He is particularly taken with the daughter of an older woman who is being coarsely treated by her former husband, a deposed bigwig. A waitress seeks prosperous clients among the passengers. The guard is pleased when he meets someone from his own region. The sound of singing and guitar strumming issues from one of the compartments, in another a band of desperados offend the principled artist and finally throw him off the train. The artist is approached by the leader of the group of children who tags along with him as he heads off towards the horizon. The other children return to the Steppe, to the hills and the grazing sheep.

About the director

Marat Sarulu (b.1957) graduated from his philosophy course at Kirghiz State University in 1980 and continued studying film direction in Moscow (1984). He lives and works in Bishkek. He made the animated film Invocation of the Virginal Bird (Moleniye o prechistoy ptitse, 1989) and the documentaries In spe (1993), and Oyum / Mandala (1999) about a drug addict who is cured by his grandmother in the country. He has written a number of screenplays for Kirghiz feature films. My Brother Silk Road (Atyl Kyrghol, 2001) is his first feature-length film.

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: East of the West
Director: Marat Sarulu
Screenplay: Marat Sarulu
Dir. of Photography: Kadyržan Kadyralijev/Kadyrjan Kydyraliyev
Music: Baktybek Ališerov/Baktybek Alisherov
Editor: Tylek Mambetova
Producer: Sain Gabdullin
Production: The Firm Kino, The Art Studio "Kumai"
Cast: Busurman Odurakaev, Tynar Abdrazaeva, Muchambet Toktobajev/Mukhambet Toktobaev, Kobatai kyzy Elmira, Žaparkul kyzy Žarkynaj/Japarkul kyzy Jarkinay, Šadylda ulu Žirkabek/Shadyilda ulu Jirgalbek

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