Central Asia Film Day

by Matt Kettmann

January’s SBIFF, February’s African Heritage Film Series,
March’s Jewish Film Festival … for a town the size of Santa
Barbara, we’ve got film festivals up the wazoo. So it is perhaps a
strategic move that the film festival of this week occupies a mere
day of the calendar, rather than a full weekend or entire month of

That would be the Central Asia Film Day, an event being held
this Saturday, February 24 at Victoria Hall Theater. Sponsored by
UCSB’s Arts & Lectures and the Silk Road Cultural Encounters
series, the 2 to 11 p.m. day of films features four films from the
tapestry of life that exists in the desolate swaths of steppe and
desert between the wilds of Siberia and the peaks of the

First off at 2 p.m. is Beshkempir: The Adopted Son, a
film from Kyrgyzstan about a boy’s journey through mischievousness
to manhood. Then at 4 p.m. is the celebrated Bhutanese film
Travellers and Magicians, Khyentse Norbu’s dreamy tale of
hitchhiking, lust, and murder that involves two men’s hopes for
better lives. At 7 p.m. is the 2005 Oscar entry from Mongolia,
The Cave of the Yellow Dog, about a nomadic family whose
new pet causes internal problems and makes the shift to urban
living a more poignant topic. And lastly is the wondrous The
Story of the Weeping Camel
, a film about an albino camel
that’s rejected by its mother, and the antics of the humans
involved to restore that bond.

As part of the year long interdisciplinary adventure that UCSB’s
Silk Road Cultural Encounters intends to deliver to Santa Barbara,
these are excellent introductions to a land we should all know more
about. Central Asia Film Day is Saturday, February 24 from 2 to 11
p.m., at Victoria Hall Theater (33 W. Victoria St.). Call


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