Tastubek is a tiny village situated 90 km from Aralsk, a former port of the Aral Sea, Kazakhstan. Once the world’s fourth largest lake, Aral Sea dried up almost entirely over 40 years due to Stalin’s “Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature”. The plan was conceived to divert the water from two rivers which fed into the Aral Sea. This resulted in devastation of the land, including extinction of 20 fish species and local economy left ruined. However, in 2005, Kazakh government began the attempt to reverse this catastrophe along with the World Bank. Within few years, water levels began to rise, fauna slowly returned, fishermen began to work once more. In his documentary project, Bizet follows Akerke and her husband Nurzhan, a family of fishermen who moved few years ago to Tastubek. Slowly, with the sea’s recovery, local people start to feel hopeful for the future and the old worries begin to fade away.
All images © Didier Bizet