I sogni del lago salato
festivals & awards:
Nowadays Kazakhstan is experiencing the same euphoria as that of 60s and 70s booming Italy, a
permeating feeling that Italy does not even remember today. Nevertheless, Kazakh growth is closely
connected to Italian economy.
Kazakh economic enhancement, which is equal to 6% per year (a rate that Italy managed to reach only during the 60s), is mainly based on oil and gas mining. ENI plays a key role in Kazakh oilfields’ management and a large number of Italian people work in Kazakhstan, especially in the regions around the Caspian Sea, where this film was shot.
In the film, as well as in the author’s own mind, the images of the extended Eurasian Steppe and those of the endless and neat spaces of post-Soviet lands interlace the images of 60s Italy, extracted both from ENI’s archives and from the private film clips shot by Andrea Segre’s twenty-year-old mother and father, who actually experienced the euphoria generated by the progress in Italy during the 60s. By travelling between Aktau and Astana, between the oil steppe towards the Caspian Sea and the hypermodernity of the new capital city, the film pauses and listens to the lives and the dreams of old farmers or shepherds and young women, whose lives have been deeply changed by the impact of oil multinational corporations on Kazakh economy.
Their stories converse at a distance with that of Italian men and women, who would live such emotions and hopes fifty years ago.
If I had listened to my mind, I probably wouldn’t have left.
I wasn’t searching for anything in particular. In this film, more than in many others, I simply followed my curiosity and my instinct.
This is the privilege of the documentary film making. This is also the emotion of the documentary film making.
A freedom of glance and feelings, which I will always try to follow.
I wanted to go to Kazakhstan and get lost in the border lands, in the wideness of those horizons, whose broadness ultimately turns into intimacy. “Dreams of the Salt Lake” are the dreams I searched for in the Eurasian Steppe and which I then retraced in my uncle (or rather cousin, as he would say) Alberto’s cellar, where tiny ancient dreams had been shielded in fifty-year-old 8mm films for a long time.v They are dreams that human beings cyclically try to have, while missing the bravery to stop and wonder what remains behind.
Over the last few years these dreams have speeded up so fast that my generation has felt the need to wonder about it. We are counting the injuries and we really want to stop. We are endeavouring not to accept the fact that the only possible horizons seem to be those of growth. This is what Sozial, a shepherd living on the shores of the Caspian Sea, taught me last winter, during the first snowstorm of the season.
This happened in Kazakhstan. Not so far away from here.