Kazakh Teachers Reflect on Funny, Short Film Clips

After we had our guest speaker leave for another meeting, I gave my students (who are real, bona fide teachers) a chance to write down their thoughts about what Anne had just spoken about, while I set up the projector to watch short movies.  I wanted them to watch four funny videos (at least funny to me) clips to end our week on a good note.  First, I had them watch Longbranch (13 min) about a guy trying to commit suicide. (how can that be funny, you may ask? it ended well) However, here’s a poignant piece that one teacher wrote after viewing Longbranch:

“The number of committing suicide is increasing in Kazakhstan, especially among the teenagers.  Recently, “Khabar Agency” was broadcasting the accident similar to this clip.  It happened in Talgar at school #31 where two 16 year old students committed suicide and died.  Moreover, after that a 16 year old girl was saved while trying to commit suicide.  If something sad happens before committing suicide, they say this is an exact reason. In fact, it is not in Kazakh “Koran” is written that just the devil makes people commit it.  And it repeats several times until people commit it.  And if people commit suicide, it is sin and they are against the “Koran.” It is against the Islamic religion.”

Someone else wrote the following about “Longbranch” “To my mind, the moral of this film is that people must help and teach desparate or helpless people nearby.” Here’s another teacher’s perspective:

“It is a very educational clip.  We can show it to our pupils.  I think it has the following meaning:  “When a pupil lets the other pupil copy the answers, it is not a real help.  But if he helps him to find the answer on his own, it is much more complicated but more helpful and meaningful.”

Next, we watched “Not Evelyn Cho” that ran almost 10 minutes, which elicited a funny story from one of the teachers.  The single teachers paid attention to what she had to say about her successful strategy in meeting her husband:

“When I was 19 years old, young and beautiful teacher at the old village school, where English was opened first by me.  I was active and with full of energy teaching my students.  I taught my husband’s younger brother named Azamat.  But at that time I wasn’t married, I just dreamed to find my future love. Once on the way back home I met a handsome boy who was staring at me and smiling.  And I saw him every day at the same time at the same place.  I bought beautiful clothes to wear to attract his attention more.  Some time later when I found out that he was my student’s older brother (Azamat), I organized an interesting lesson for the students who studied with Azamat.  It was like a lesson connected with questionnaire.  Via some questions made by me, I had an opportunity to know my husband well before getting married.  I advise all young girls always to play it by ear whenever it happens to their future life.  Grab your love immediately, until someone does it.”

One other pragmatic teacher, who is married wrote this after watching “Not Evelyn Cho”

“Such a pity that she didn’t get him and they didn’t live ‘happily ever after.’  But it is almost always in the world. I have many male friends, they are handsome, gentle, kind, brave, well-educated, honest (ideal) but they have girlfriends and they love them very much and they are devoted to them!  Nowadays, it is difficult to find a good man/manly man, so to say, and if you find one, he is already taken by someone else! (;-(

Then we watched my favorite “Mutual Love Life” that is over 10 minutes.  This was a real eye opener for me because it is a hyperbole on our necessity to have insurance in the U.S. for almost everything.  Half of my students didn’t really understand the humor of it all.

One student who DID understand the plot of “Mutual Love Life” wrote the following:

“In our country [Kazakhstan] most people don’t know about the usefulness of insurance yet, so maybe that’s why the students in my group don’t understand at once the film.  I like this film, especially the moment when Dan loses the girl and money while Sarah gets insurance for her next relationship, that’s the funniest part.”

The real eye-opener for me is that Kazakhs really don’t know the expenses we as westerners continue to pay when we leave our comforts of home in the U.S.  My husband and I still have to pay for health, life, home, car insurance even when we are NOT living in the U.S.  That ALL adds up, not to mention the property taxes and other taxes we pay to be a U.S. citizen. Plus, in order to teach in Kazakhstan, we have to pay for expensive airfares, visa fees and now that we are here we pay for our rent as well. Soooo….this was very interesting that what I thought was funny was not understood by my Kazakh students at all.  There is no such thing as insurance for a broken heart.  This is what summed up the third film:

“Nowadays, people are so materialistic, they think about everything which can damage and so sign insurance.  But love is not a property, we cannot control our feelings and emotions.  It is not predictable.  I don’t like a man who wanted to be ruler of woman’s life.  He was looking for benefits and lost everything.” (;-(

(Fourth film reflections to be continued tomorrow)

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] is a continuation of what I wrote about in yesterday’s blog.  I had many good reflections from my students after they viewed the fourth film clip titled […]

  2. 2

    Damesh said,

    I heard Laura’s story from herself in full color and would it is worth listening to it! Thank you for good thought, Laura about grabbing your love. Alas I am really bad at those “hearty” things =)

  3. 3

    Damesh said,

    um, sorry there is an odd word over there *would*


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