Mother Tongue Film Festival: Nomokhtookh sir – Legend and Landscape

Friday, February 24, 2023 | 7:00 p.m.

$0 | Friedman Family Auditorium

Planet Word is proud to host the Smithsonian Institution’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrating cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world, highlighting the crucial role languages play in our daily lives.

In the Sakha language, spoken in the Russian Far East, “nomokhtookh sir” means “legend-filled land” or, more poetically, “land alive with legend.” Although there is great diversity among Indigenous Peoples worldwide, one of the strongest threads of commonality is a deep and enduring connection to, and respectful, reciprocal relationship with, land. Humans are interconnected to the land and develop systematic knowledge that is part of all aspects of life, including the cultural and spiritual. The films presented in “Nomokhtookh sir: Legend and Landscape” emphasize these kinds of land relationships and ways of knowing with the following films:

(OTYKEN, Siberia, Russia, Chulym, 2022, 4 min, music video)
In the music video Storm, Chulym musical group OTYKEN warns of the dangers of traveling into the unforgiving landscape to the east. Fusing traditional Chulym instruments and modern musical sounds, OTYKEN shares wisdom and prayers for those who are brave enough to voyage across frozen lands.

Gnawer of Rocks
(Andrea Flaherty, Canada, English, Inuktitut, 2020, 13 min, animation)
While everyone is busy preparing for the coming winter, two girls wander away from their camp, following a path of strange, beautiful stones. Each stone is lovelier than the last, and the trail leads them farther and farther away. But what starts out as a peaceful afternoon on the land quickly turns dangerous when the girls find themselves trapped in the cave of Mangittatuarjuk — the Gnawer of Rocks! Based on a traditional Inuit legend.

Cursed Land: Fate
(Stepan Burnashev, Sakha Republic, Russian Federation, 2020, 86 min, feature drama/horror)
A twenty-three-year-old student, Alyona, returns home from Moscow to Yakutsk after receiving a call that her mother has been missing for three days. Alyona goes to the police, where she is told her mother ordered a long-distance taxi to the isolated village of Symyyr. In an act of desperation, Alyona asks her stepfather to take her immediately. Upon arrival, the dark land begins to unravel its secrets.