Kazakhstan strikes back with 'the real Borat story'
Friday 13 January 2012
Kazakhstan is striking back. Five years after Sacha Baron Cohen portrayed it as a place of slack-jawed, sister-marrying thugs, its film industry is producing what it styles "the real Borat story."
According to Kazakh tourism minister Talgat Ermegiayev, "it will show international audiences the real Kazakhstan and just how much it has to offer."
There isn't a nylon suit to be seen in Myn Bala – it's a historical epic which tells the tale of how two centuries ago, Kazakhs overthrew their Mongolian oppressors (at least until the Soviet Union came calling.)
With its lavish battle scenes all filmed on the windswept Kazakh steppes, it has overtones of foreign-language blockbusters like Nomad and Mongol. The director, 39 year old Akan Satayev, is normally behind the camera for gangster films – including last year's Liquidator, which he made with British star Vinnie Jones.
An army of Mongol invaders proved curiously easy to direct.
"We had no problem with funding, we had no problem with money," he emphasises keenly. Seven million dollars, much of which was given by the Kazakh state, buys more helmets and horses than in Hollywood.
The stunts were provided by the native "Nomad" troupe of horse riders who have also worked on Conan the Barbarian and The Expendables, while open auditions were held in a national quest to find the young cast of the movie.
Myn Bala will receive an international launch for the world's press this spring, either at the Berlin or Cannes International Film Festival.
The Kazakh premiere will be on the day of Kazakh New Year, in March. But it's only at the forefront of the charge of films from the former Soviet Republic.
The same studio behind Myn Bala, Kazakhfilms, has 20 more films in pre-production – all are being made by directors under the age of 30.
It seems that at last, film-wise, someone will really and properly Make Benefit for Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action