A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Painted frame by frame, a vivid animation restores a history lost to deportation.
In 1942, Nazi forces captured a portion of the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, home to the Kalmyks – an ethnic group with a language and heritage rooted in Mongolia, most of whom were Tibetan Buddhists. While Kalmyks were predominantly loyal to the Soviet Union throughout the Second World War, and many fought in the Red Army, a small group volunteered to join the Nazi army. Following the Soviet Union’s recapture of Kalmyk territory in December 1943, Soviet authorities declared all Kalmyk people guilty of cooperation with the Nazis and ordered their deportation and exile to Siberia. By the time they were allowed to return home in 1957, roughly half of the Kalmyks had died. The Montreal-based animator Alisi Telengut’s short film Nutag – Homeland is a requiem for the many lives lost during the widespread displacement of the Kalmyk people. Using imagery hand-painted frame by frame, the aching visual poem reflects on a largely forgotten tragedy by blending symbolic motifs with a timeless, mournful folk overtone.
Text from Aeon.
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Directed and animated by: Alisi Telengut
Sound design: Alisi Telengut
Song: Fly Fly My Sadness performed by Bulgarian Voice Angelite and Tuvan music Group Huun-Huur-Tu
Alisi Telengut, born in 1989, is a director and animation artist currently based in Montreal. She creates animation frame by frame under the camera, with painting as the medium, to generate movement and explore hand-made and painterly visuals for her films. She is interested in the notions of visual poetry, lyrical representations of memory and experimental ethnography. Her recent films received awards at the 24th Stockholm International Film Festival, the 36th and the 37th Montreal World Film Festival and Canada International Film Festival. In addition to being selected at Slamdance, Florida, Edinburgh, ZINEBI, Talent tout court at Cannes Film Festival, and various worldwide film venues and exhibitions as animation and moving image artworks, these films have also contributed to enthnographic, ethnocultural and archaeological research archives.