To Paris

[В Париж]

Kazakhstan, 2001, Color, 8 min.
In Kazakh and Russian, no subtitles
Production: Soros Foundation Kazakhstan and Zhana Kozkaras
Director: Erlan Nurmukhambetov
Script: Erlan Nurmukhambetov
Camera: Aleksei Kiriukhin
Sound: Andrei Vlaznev
Art Direction: Darezhan Omirbaev
Producers: Renat Kosai, Dina Akhmetbekova
With: Nurlin Tumenbaev, Mardip Zhalypbaev, Kairat Khairullin, Kundyk Tumenbaev.

One summer day, two young cops are blithely chewing on their sunflower seeds when duty calls. Two shady characters are approaching and the officers get up to ask for their proper documents. But instead of complying the two young thugs beat up the cops and run away. A crowd has gathered and a woman offers assistance in the form of a tissue from her purse. On a bus to the countryside, one of the hoodlums glances surreptitiously at another woman's purse. At home on the farm, his father scolds and slaps him. He stashes away some money in a box with a picture of the Eiffel Tower, as the farm's turkey looks on. In the city, one of the cops tries to go to sleep despite the noise of crowds outside. As his blissful snores begin to permeate the room, the same picture of the Eiffel Tower on the wall suggests the cop's and the pickpocket's mutual desires.

This light-hearted short with only brief moments of dialogue acquires its charm through its expressive way of doubling small details into pairs and thus into a larger coherence. Both the cops and the thugs are of the same age; both fulfill their respective duties of upholding and eluding the law. A woman's purse holds a promise of help in both cases. The city apartment and the country coop share the same sign – Welcome to Paris! – suggesting the spiritual proximity of the two protagonists, who are closer to each other's hopes and dreams than they know.


Erlan Nurmukhambetov was born in the Southern Kazakh region in 1974. He graduated from the Kazakh film school KazNatsAls in 2000.


1998 Pay Day, Love, and Shoes (short)
1998 Sunday
1999 Friday
2001 To Paris
2001 On the Sunny Side

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