A 2019 Kazakhstani feature film ‘Tomiris’ has distorted historical facts about Iran’s Cyrus the Great based on an unreliable narrative of events in history.
The film was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in Kazakhstan with the idea of a film about Queen Tomiris coming up by Aliya Nazarbayeva, the first president of Kazakhstan’s youngest daughter.
Filming of the big budge movie began in December 2017 and scenes were shot in different parts of Kazakhstan as a narrative about the queen of the Massagetae, Tomyris, and the king of Persia, Cyrus the Great.
The project is seen primarily as a reaction to a so-called mockumentary Hollywood comedy titled ‘Borat’ in which the Kazakhs were humiliated for some traditions and customs. Nevertheless, the narrative of the flick also tries to depict Iranians as a nation invading other countries in the past.
Famed Iranian historian Khorow Motazeh said of the flick that the depiction of a historical war between Iran and the Massagetae is a half-truth, noting that “Cyrus was a conqueror, but this is different from the image that everyone has in mind of such concept. The Assyrians were also conquerors in the history of the world, but through killing people, they could dominate a country or a region. Cyrus did not kill and tried to negotiate, and for this reason, his name remained forever in history.”
The film’s negative reviews are based on the claim that Herodotus's version of events is not generally accepted by historians and researchers, and unlike in the film, the Massagetae are not considered the Turkic, but Persian speaking Iranian people. In this way, Pan-Turkism can be traced in the flick.
Akan Satayev’s so-called warrior movie centered on Queen Tomiris during the 6th century BC. Almira Tursyn stars as Tomiris along with Adil Akhmetov and Aizhan Lighg.
Herodotus, who first wrote about Tomiris almost 100 years after her death, says that Cyrus the Great was killed by her fighters in his last battle. The film follows this version which is not reliable.