Melwood Screening Room: May 15 @ 7:00 PM
Regent Square Theater: May 18 @ 7:30 PM
Passes not accepted on Opening/Closing Night. Please arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of start time to ensure availability of seating. Film schedule and Q & A's are subject to change.
2011/Kazakhstan/Germany/Russia/Director: Veit Helmer/95 min.
Cast: Alexander Asochakov, Marie de Villepin, Sitora Farmonov (Language:Russian with English subtitles)
Festivals and Awards: Pusan
A cross-cultural Sleeping Beauty tale with a twist, Baikonur is framed by a Kazakh proverb – “Whatever falls from Heaven, you may keep.”
The nomads living next to the Baikonur Cosmodrome Launch Center take this motto seriously by racing across the Kazakh steppe, searching for fallen junk from Russian spacecraft to sell for profit.
But one day Iskander, a young radio operator and space fanatic, discovers a treasure unlike any other. The beautiful Julie Mahé, a French billionaire turned space tourist, falls to earth in a space capsule. Before the rescue team can reach her, Iskander finds the comatose beauty and takes her to his yurt. When she awakes, she’s grateful for being saved but also cannot remember anything. Taking the proverb to his advantage, Iskander tells Julie she’s his bride-to-be.
For Iskander, nicknamed “Gagarin” by the village after the Soviet cosmonaut, Julie’s unexpected landing is like a dream come true. He’s been smitten with her image after seeing her on TV and spends his nights looking up at the stars. But back on earth Nazira, a spirited young village girl, finds it increasingly hard to hide her crush on Iskander, forming a tangled cosmic love triangle.
Baikonur is romantically quirky as well as groundbreaking. It is the first feature film to be made at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, also home to the historic launch of Sputnik 1 and the first woman into space. Director Viet Helmer takes advantage of the setting’s the spectacular technological resources, filming the actors underwater in space suits and spinning around with in a centrifuge.
Three parts romance, comedy and adventure, Baikonur is a delightful tale of a man choice to follow the stars or recognize his true path.