Scene from the film The Taste of Koumiz

The Taste of Koumiz

  • Belgium
Audio Tracks 

Xavier Christiaens set out on a journey to show the audience its internal image. He is a solitary traveler, who carefully observes new lands. The intensity and the tone of his film have an emotional origin; frayed images disappear from the screen as a heart-felt state.

His travels through Kazakhstan and Kirgyzstan evoked suggestive atmospheric images that give rise to a narration, the pace of which reflects the strange timelessness of the film. It is a story of a man who once left the mountains where he was born and moved to the city, having been attracted by its magic. But he had to pay for the illusion and a life in a suburban apartment building cannot be happy. Shown against the walls of the city apartment, there are flowing images of a nomads' camp in black mountains, where shepherds follow their horses on spring pasture, stay in yurts and still live the life of migration. However, the interrupted singing inevitably reminds us that the culture of the nomads is disappearing.

This powerful film is based on nostalgia. The opening enigmatic images introduce the audience to a strange hallucination. The artistic slowness of the film works with a contrastive video footage converted into black and white. Melancholy permeates bodies, faces, landscape and music. Intuitive and carefully composed images arouse moments of pure film excitement.

It is the director's intention to disperse the images, to free them silently yet passionately from the pseudo movement of a fake reality and achieve the captivating charm of a dream. Journey as a way of coping with the unfamiliar includes a double parallel and at the same time a conflicting attitude - approval and rejection; the real traveler accepts this ambiguous attitude, constantly looks for the right balance of the personal and the other, between the liberty of the road and place, contemplates responsibility of an onlooker, hesitates with every new step.

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  • Original title
    Le Goût du Koumiz
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Xavier Christiaens
  • DOP
    Xavier Christiaens
  • Editing
    Xavier Christiaens
  • Music
    Xavier Christiaens
  • Sound
    Sandrine Blaise
  • Duration
    56 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Belgium
  • Colour
    • Black & White
  • Production
      • Atouda asbl
      • Ostrov asbl, 27 rue des Bégonias
      • 1170 Brussels
      • Belgium
      • tel: 32 2 248 29 65
      • e-mail:
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Visions du Réel, Nyon, Switzerland
    • Doc Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
    • Jihlava IDFF, Jihlava, Czech Republic
    • Les Ecrans Documentaires, Arcueil, France
    • Les Inattendus, Lyon, France
    • European Media Art, Osnabrück, Germany
    • One world International Film Festival, Praha, Czech Republic
    • Split Film Festival, Split, Croatia
    • Document2, Glascow, Scotland
    • Festival Internacional de Cine y Derechos Humanos, Barcelona, Spain
    • Argosfestival, Brussels, Belgium
    • Cph:dox, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Taiwan International Documentary Festival , Taiwan
    • The Images Festival, Toronto, Canada
    • Nanookfilmfestival, Palermo, Italy
    • Sami Film Festival, Kautokeino, Norway
    • Slow Film Festival, Eger, Hungary
    • Mar del Plata International Independent Film Festival, Argentina
  • Awards
    • Prize Scam for the best Belgian audiovisual documentary 2004
    • Cineform award Film Festival Seoul SENEF, South-Korea
    • Special mention Filmer à tout prix, Brussels, Belgium
    • Diplom of honour Krakow Film Festival, Krakow, Poland is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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