HERDERS & LAMENTATIONS
Based on the narratives of two books in the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Cultural Heritage Book Series: Kyrgyz Herders of Soviet Uzbekistan: Historical and Ethnographic Narratives by Dr Elmira Köchümkulova and Mamatkerim Köchümkulov and Respect Graces the Living, Lamentation Graces the Dead: Kyrgyz Funeral Laments and Lamenters by Köchümkulova. It tells the story of two custodians of Kyrgyz nomadic traditions – herders and funeral lamenters (koshokchus).
“A farmer stops ploughing when it rains. A herder stops herding when he dies,” says a herder highlighting the centrality of livestock in the rhythms of Kyrgyz life. The film recounts the unique experiences of Kyrgyz herders in Soviet Uzbekistan from 1941 to 1995, including relations between nomadic Kyrgyz and sedentary Uzbeks of the Fergana valley and the role of Kyrgyz women.