Sarang!

Edit: As some errors were apparently introduced into the subtitles in the final stages of production, Elise Anderson (who wrote the original subtitles) has temporarily taken the video down in order to restore the correct text. Watch this space.

Years ago, Uyghur author Memtimin Hoshur (b. 1944) wrote a short story called “Sarang.” We might translate the title as “Crazy.” Like many of Memtimin’s stories, “Sarang” is a dark comedy and work of social commentary, and it begins with the conceit that the whole thing was written not by Memtimin himself, but by a manic author named Osman, who also appears as a character in the story.

That story became a movie, which is now available on YouTube, complete with English-language subtitles! If you only watch one Uyghur film, make it “Sarang.” The story is told through scenes of everyday sociability: men playing cards, husbands and wives, people telling jokes and just shooting the shit, getting brought in to the local police station. It’s a good introduction to Uyghur society through one of the greatest works of modern Uyghur literature.

But you don’t need me to convince you. You can watch the whole thing here:

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