Online Kazakhstan Film Week opens in London
LONDON. KAZINFORM A roundtable discussion on the history and modern trends in Kazakh cinema launched the Online Kazakhstan Film Week in London marking the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence.
The film week is hosted by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK with the support of Kazakhfilm Studio named after Shaken Aimanov, the Kazakh MFA’s press service reports.
The round table discussion was led by Erlan Idrissov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK; Professor Peter Rollberg, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research Initiatives at George Washington University; and Professor Birgit Beumers, Professor Emerita in Film Studies at Aberystwyth University. Assiya Issemberdiyeva, PhD Student in Visual Cultures at Queen Mary University of London moderated the discussion.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Idrissov noted that Kazakh culture is distinguished by inherent traditions of rich oral art and unity with nature, which are woven into every aspect of Kazakh people’s lives. Nowadays, according to Idrissov, this tradition is increasingly turning to film, and Kazakh cinema, which successfully combines the best of the Soviet school of cinematography with a unique ‘steppe’ worldview, has been known for its outstanding works for many decades.
Professor Rollberg agreed that oral tradition, the tradition of acting, and the art of improvisation are strong in Kazakh culture. He spoke in detail about the various stages of Kazakh cinema’s development and highlighted such films as Amangeldy, Our Dear Doctor, The Land of the Fathers, and Sultan Beybars, as well as the legend of Kazakh cinema – actor and director Shaken Aimanov.
Professor Beumers focused on the later periods of Kazakh cinematography – the so-called «new wave» and independent «partisan cinema». She highlighted that the modern trends in Kazakh cinema give Kazakhstan a new voice, which is increasingly heard at major international film festivals.
She also stressed the importance of creating conditions for Kazakh cinema to develop, supporting independent cinema, and establishing ties with international film producers.
«It gives a real booster to Kazakhstan to begin to speak in a language that is still its own, but that also has international resonance and universal context. These collaborations are extremely important for Kazakh films to find their way to international audiences,» Professor Beumers stressed.
The Online Kazakhstan Film Week in London showcases outstanding classics of Kazakh cinema, along with the more recent internationally recognised works by Kazakh filmmakers. The first day saw the screening of Sultan Beybars by Bulat Mansurov, which tells the story of a Kipchak boy who was once taken into slavery and became the ruler of Egypt. By the end of his long and dramatic journey, having known power, love, disappointment and the soul-burning longing for home, the main character returns to where his ancestors lived – his native Kazakh steppes.
The online screenings are accompanied by exclusive interviews with actors and film directors facilitated by renowned UK film critics. The interviewees include:
- famous Kazakh actor Dulyga Akmolda, who played a supporting role in the film Leyla’s Prayer. The film tells the story of a Kazakh village in Semipalatinsk region located in the epicentre of nuclear tests. The film was directed by Satybaldy Narymbetov, who sadly passed away this year;
- renowned Kazakh film director Nariman Turebayev who created the film Adventure based on White Nights, a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky;
- actor and film director Sanjar Madi. He played the leading role in Paris Song, which tells the story of Amre Kashaubayev, who was the first to present to the European audiences the Kazakh art of singing and the Kazakh national instrument – dombyra;
- film director Adilkhan Yerzhanov, whose film, Yellow Cat, was selected as the Kazakhstan entry for the Best International Feature Film nomination at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.
All films within the film week are in English or in Kazakh/Russian languages with English subtitles.
The films and the interviews are available here until 15 December 2021.