Eight films from the Kazan International Muslim Film Festival
The program of the 18e The Kazan film festival that took place last week included 50 works in competition and 100 works out of competition. Deputy editor of Realnoe Vremya watched most of them as a member of the NETPAC jury and tried to figure out why some of them attracted the jury.
The story of a woman who stopped believing
I was invited to the NETPAC jury, Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema made up of 29 countries and founded in New Delhi in 1990 on the initiative of UNECSO and with its help. NETPAC chose a film from a director who shot the first or second feature, so we picked feature films and documentaries from the program and started watching them, by the way, not in a movie theater but in a separate room next to the press center. Part of the main jury sat here. I remember once they didn’t want to watch the middle of a movie until the end because everything was clear but in fast motion.
The network’s jury included Ann Demi-Gerow of Australia, NETPAC vice president and director of the Asia-Pacific screen lab, Tajikistan filmmaker Sharofat Arabova. Ann had a connection in Singapore (the network is headquartered there), but the jet lag was obviously hard on her, at the same time she was really interested in Kazan. Sharofat expressed his opinion very clearly, so we, in a cafe in the former Tatar settlement, calmly chose the film, which also won the Grand Prix – silent glory. Iranian director Nahid Hassanzadeh also became the best actress. This is his second feature film. She plays a woman named Rohan who marries a former teacher who is now a sick old guardian of the Mahi temple. In fact it is a story of a teacher and a student, moreover, no knowledge but the disbelief is passed because Rohan sees a boy living in the temple cannot recover from his illness and dies. Rohan believes that if she works a miracle, God will forgive her but knows she won’t work a miracle.
As can be seen in general, brilliant films but devoted to simple everyday problems attracted the main jury. The best short film is Tajik The little brother of angels by Udemsho Mirzoshirinova based on the story by Sayd Rahimzod Afardi. The main character is a boy named Fayzullo whose younger sisters all die as newborns, the older brother is constantly accused of this. At the end, Fayzullo transforms the mourning into an evening of songs trying to get his mother out of endless sadness. In fact, it’s a sudden adult story.
The work The Anger by a graduate of Moscow State University working in Lebanon, Maria Ivanova Surae seemed to be the most “festive” on the list (the film was made with Russian and German companies). This film received an award for the best feature film cameraman and an award from the Russian Guild of Film Experts and Critics. His short film Sonuncu selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and 87 other film events winning nine awards. As silent glory it’s the story of a woman: Ida escapes from her mother, meets a European who turns out to be a manipulator and a terrorist. Thus, traditional stereotypes are upset in the film.
Again, the festival raised the question of defining the concept of Muslim cinema which apparently can include any film devoted to reaching the good side. One of the jury members seriously questioned whether the author should be a Muslim. For example, the best feature documentary is Russian-French Ivan’s Ladder. Nikolay Bem, author of the SiberiaDOC project, a program aimed at developing and promoting auteur documentaries in Siberia, shot it. In his film, an Old Believer, a father named Sysoy teaches his son Ivan Byzantine religious song in a forgotten village.
Seclusion and conservation is another obviously popular theme. Turkey Life by Muhammed Emid Demiral about the 83-year-old Cherkess woman, Cihan Gunger, living in the village of Kayseri in the heart of Turkey, is the best documentary short. Interestingly, she speaks her native language throughout the film, although she can easily speak with the camera in the local language.
We will talk about films from Tatarstan separately. There were queues for the film Ibn Fadlan for two days in a row, which of course director Aynaz Mukhametzyanov pleased (but it should be clarified that almost all Tatar feature films, especially religious ones, are of interest to a viewer of the festival, while the film will have to understand the story of the cast).
movie for people
A film will certainly be distributed. He is The Adventures of Little Bahi, the most understandable film, a new work by Alexander Galibin who shot the film Younger Sister based on Mustay Karim’s book in 2019. The author, who is a former chief director of Novosibirsk‘s Alexandrinsky Theater and Globus , shoots the village of Choh in Dagestan engaging the compatriots in the shooting. A child is in the limelight again – Bakhadir, 8, who solves the problems of his father, mother, grandmother, uncle and bridge while farming in same time. The film will be released on October 27, 2022.
However, not all interesting films won awards. by Yuda Kurniawan Tone Wheels about aging street musicians in South Jakarta who suddenly decided to record an album with the help of their old friend struggling with their old computer and uneducated. It’s a story of friendship in the middle of dilapidated walls and piles of rubbish with an immersion in an unknown musical culture.
Interestingly, it was stated at the closing ceremony of the festival why we need western cinema if that, what is in the program, can be shown. However, the poster of the cinema which hosted the festival eloquently demonstrated the absence of such films. It is a big question why the history of promoting regional works and films from friendly countries has not started yet. Economists predict that Russia can turn into a new Iran. Well, we know how much of a phenomenon Iranian cinema has become, mainly because it spoke eloquently about the life of this country without trying to repeat the patterns of some other states.