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Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Produced by Regis Ghezelbash
Sergey Azimov
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière
Volker Schlöndorff
Starring Philippe Torreton
Ayanat Xenbay
David Bennent
Music by Bruno Coulais
Kuat Shildebayev
Ruben Haroutunian
Cinematography Tom Fährmann
Edited by Peter R. Adam
Distributed by Rezo Films
Release date
December 13, 2007
Running time
Country France
Language French

Ulzhan is a 2007 international co-production directed by Volker Schlöndorff, starring Philippe Torreton, Ayanat Xenbay (formerly credited as Ayana Yesmagambetova[1]) and David Bennent.


The Frenchman Charles travels in Kazakhstan and when his car stops working, he is determined to continue his journey by walking until he can get a horse. The young local French teacher Ulzhan decides to accompany and support him. She learns that Charles is heading for the mountain Khan Tengri. Along the way they are joined by New Age shaman Shakuni. They all approach the storied mountain which Shakuni considers holy. Whether they will find there a hidden treasure or salvation is left to the viewer's speculation.


In Germany "Ulzhan" received "predominantly positive press reviews".[2] Lidia Louk (The Epoch Times) wrote "Ulzhan" was besides a human drama also a satire about a society which had to accomplish a swift change from communism to "turbo-capitalism".[3] Hans-Bernhard Moeller (associate professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin[4]) and George Lellis (professor of communication at Coker College[5]) honoured "Ulzhan" by publishing an in-depth review of 3582 words titled "Ulzhan: Schlöndorff’s Globalized Eastern Western".[6] Their essay attests Volker Schlöndorff to have made "abstract issues" seizable "through transposing the conventions of the Western into the frontier between Europe and Asia –physically, intellectually, and spiritually". They also certified "Ulzhan" a "special complexity" achieved by "its refusal to let its themes be reduced to a simple bipolar opposition". Variety's very different review just compared "Ulzhan" with another film and came finally to a mathematical result which stated that 1 reel of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre delivered more clashes and oral exposition than the 10 reels of "Ulzhan".[7] ABC's Julie Rigg compared "Ulzhan" instead with Paris, Texas and found it "haunting" but at the same time "mysterious and beautiful".[8]


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