Daniel Asadi Faezi and Mila Zhluktenko film the Aral Sea shore’s last inhabitants, who have lost their way of life to the desertification of their environment. Aralkum is a cinematic kaleidoscope of a desert landscape that used to be a lake. The surreal flickering of the Aral desert transforms into the waves of the former Aral Sea. The sand becomes water. An old man becomes a fisherman again. The case of the Aral “Sea” powerfully reveals the deadly impact of human activities—in this case, the intensive cultivation of cotton in the USSR—on an ecosystem.
This short film has been part of the programme Shorts: The Memory of Water at the Movies that Matter Festival 2023, curated in collaboration with Go Short - International Short Film Festival Nijmegen.