Gibel Otrara (1991) [Uncut] AKA The Fall of Otrar


Four arduous years in the making, Ardak Amirkulov’s 1990 historical epic about the intrigue and turmoil preceding Genghis Khan’s systematic destruction of the lost East Asian civilization of Otrar is a one-of-a-kind experience. Amirkulov’s film, shot in sepia-toned black-and-white, is at once hallucinatory, visually resplendent, and ferociously energetic, packed with eye-catching (and gouging) detail and B-movie fervor, and traversing an endless variety of parched, epic landscapes and ornate palaces.

Director: Ardak Amirkulov.
Writers: Aleksey German, Svetlana Karmalita,
Stars: Dokhdurbek Kydyraliyev, Tungyshpai Zhamankulov, Bolot Beyshenaliev, Abdurashid Makhsudov, Zaur Zekhov, Kasym Zhakibayev.


Note: This is the original, uncut 171 minutes version in original Mongolian/Kazakh language without Russian voiceover.

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  1. Stephen
    November 5, 2022

    So glad I found this! I’ve been trying to watch as much Aleksey German stuff as I can find, and I happened to hear about this film on a podcast about Hard To Be a God. I can barely find anything about it in English, and what I have found is the Russian dub. No idea how you tracked this down but thanks for your hard work!

  2. July 8, 2023

    The plot line is difficult to follow, mainly due to the subtitles blending into the background, making it impossible in many places to read them. As a result, the story becomes confusing in places.

    • Jon W.
      July 9, 2023

      Sorry about that, Brad, this is the only copy available of the uncut 171 minute version with the original Kazakh/Mongolian/Mandarin audio track, other copies available don’t have burned-in subs but they are the shorter version and those are the Russian dubbed version so for now this is the only way to see the original version w/Eng. subs, I really hope a better quality copy will be made available soon so I can replace this one and that way one can watch it properly and be able to follow the plot without any issues, this one is definitely one for Scorsese’s World Cinema Project ( maybe it’s in their radar already, hopefully!

  3. Eric
    May 18, 2024

    This “copy” is not “The Fall of Otrar”. I saw the film at MoMa years ago and, although what is posted here follows the narrative (and obviously includes the same locations, actors, etc.), it seems to be composed of outakes from the film — indeed, the fall, never mind the seige of, Otrar is never shown! In my recollection, the most memorable shots — the Khairkhan stuffing his ears with feathers to silence the cries of his dying soldiers, Genghis Khan’s court and his punishment of his enemies (I recall a huge cage on wheels) are completely absent. The version uploaded here is a sophisticated hoax: someone with access to shots not included in the released version must have gone to a great deal of effort to put together this film for reasons I can’t understand….

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