Murghab

Winter in the Tajik Pamirs

A feature-length documentary film on the possibilities of life in socialist ruins.

by Martin Saxer, Marlen Elders, Daler Kaziev

Collecting shrubs in the Murghab region. © Martin Saxer, 2018

Synopsis

A generation ago, Murghab was well taken care of. As the highest town of the former Soviet Union at 3600 metres above sea level and close to the sensitive borders with Afghanistan and China, the town enjoyed ample provisions from Moscow brought in via the Pamir Highway. It featured electricity around the clock, an airport with regular flights, a movie theatre, and a hospital with central heating. Since then, Murghab and its people have weathered several storms and many of the Soviet hallmarks are crumbling away. Yet, live goes on and, with wit and improvisational skills, the ruins of Socialism afford a plethora of new but precarious ways to make do.

The film provides a window into contemporary life in Murghab. It offers glimpses into people's daily routines, inviting the audience on a journey to the Pamirs. It follows a group of men harvesting shrubs on the windswept high-altitude plateau, a nurse keeping regional health statistics, a passionate teacher inspiring a sense of history and purpose in her class, and a welder building stoves from the scraps of Soviet modernity. A winter film of hardship, work and hope.

Runtime and Format
Documentary film, 85 min, Color, 16:9, 4K
Scheduled release
May 2019 (in post-production)

Credits

With
Yrysbek Ismailovich Turdiev, Tashtanov Mayrambai Nazarbekovich, Kanymbyby Abdurahmanovna Tagaikulova, Rasul Mamaseitov, Aisalkyn Dubanaevna Alieva, Hushnazar Oshurov
Produced by
Marlen Elders and Martin Saxer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich
Directed by
Martin Saxer and Daler Kaziev
Executive production
Daler Kaziev
Cinematography
Martin Saxer
Second camera
Daler Kaziev
Sound
Marlen Elders
Editing
Martin Saxer and Marlen Elders
Music
Christian Eckstein, Moritz Kunkel

Contact:
Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
martin.saxer@lmu.de | +49 89 2180 9639

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