[ the other image ]


This is a scene from the documentary film Murghab, Daler Kaziev, Marlen Elders and I are currently working on. There is no voice-over that would try to explain what the audience should see and people generally don't talk much in the film. Made to be an immersive visual experience, Murghab leaves many questions unanswered. Sometimes, there are these little background stories impossible to communicate in images but easily told in a few sentences. Here is one:

The tiny sledges (sanki in Russian) that children in Murghab play with on the frozen river during winter are not some Chinese import; as so many other things in Murghab, they are rather a typically Murghabi invention. The sledges are made from the iron bag holders attached to the sides of Soviet school desks. Designed to prevent children from putting their schoolbags on the dusty floor, they make for an excellent pair of runners.

Daler, who grew up in Murghab, still had one lying around and prepared it for the son of one of our main protagonists so that he could participate in the daily fun. It took him a couple of hours to acquire the skill, but in the end, he got the hang of it.

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