When it comes to documentaries, there are a lot of different styles to choose from. You can have a “talking heads” style documentary, where there are a lot of interviews taken in various places from different experts on a subject. You can have a documentary with re-enactments of events past, or you can have a documentary where you simply watch events unfold, somewhat untouched by the director (or at least appearing to be if they’re good). The film Grab and Run falls into the last, more observatory category.
Grab and Run takes place in rural Kyrgyzstan, where director Roser Corella shows us a landscape very foreign to an American viewer. For example, within the first couple of frames, there is preparation for a celebration where we see a dead horse being prepared to eat at the function. This is just the beginning of an exploration into a completely different way of life than a lot of the world is accustomed to.
“Ala-kachuu is when a man and a group of his relatives steal a woman…”
The documentary is not about the fact that some people eat horsemeat, however. That would be incredibly weird and probably very boring. It’s about the tradition called Ala-kachuu, or bride kidnapping. While technically illegal in Kyrgyzstan, it definitely still happens in this day and age, even though more and more people find it to be a bit barbaric.
Ala-kachuu is when a man and a group of his relatives steal a woman that he has had his eye on. She is then taken back to his home to meets the (now) in-laws. They sometimes force her to eat food immediately upon arriving at the house because it’s a tradition that once you eat food in a house, you have to stay there. Sometimes the girls escape, only to be re-kidnapped or to be returned to the house by their own families because Ala-kachuu is a revered tradition.
"…an understanding of the world around us can only make us better people."