From tomorrow, six films by Uzbek director Ali Khamraev will be screened as part of Pera Museum's program
Central Asian cinema, a lesser-known section of the worldwide film industry will visit Istanbul for two weeks, from tomorrow to May 10. In collaboration with Seagull Films, an American film company, Pera Museum will screen a series of Uzbek director Ali Khamraev's productions. In the program "Pera Film's Hidden Treasure: Films of Ali Khamraev," viewers will not be able to keep their eyes from the screen, while watching any of his six films: "Bo, Ba, Bu," "White, White Storks," "The Seventh Bullet," "Man Follows Bird," "I Remember You" and "The Bodyguard." Having studied at VGKI, a former Soviet state film school, Khamraev is among the visionary directors who emerged at the time of Khrushchev's great thaw in Soviet arts. "If there is a giant who sits astride the history of Uzbek cinema, it is Ali Khamraev. An artist of rock-solid humanism and amazing expressive power ... Anyone interested in the Brechtian idea of the social gestus should study Khamraev's ferocious 1972 masterpiece "Without Fear," which deals with the Soviet modernization of a Muslim village in 1927," said director Kent Jones of the Word Cinema Foundation in a statement. Film critic Olaf Möller describes him as "a Genghis Khan-ian giant of genre filmmaking." Born in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, Khamraev made his directing debut in 1964 and became popular in the late 1960s and 1970s with a series of actions films set in Central Asia during the civil wars of 1920s, including "the Bodyguard" and his hit production "The Seventh Bullet." The oppression of women and the conflict between traditional and progressive forces are the two most common themes in the Uzbek director's works. All films will be screened in Russian with Turkish subtitles. Here is a synopsis of the program:
'White, White Storks'
Set in the rural village of White Storks, Khamraev's first feature film revolves around his rebellious women theme. Dealing with the subject of extramarital affairs, the film depicts married but childless Malika's relations with another man, Kaium, which are rejected by the villagers. While depicting a fascinating landscape, Khamraev discusses tradition-bound family relations and customs.
'Bo Ba Bu'
Khamraev introduces a theatrical feature plot around three people - an Asian man Bo, a dying white woman and Bo's brother Bu. Bo finds a blonde woman in the desert and brings her to his home. He begins to treat her as his property. The 1998 drama criticizes male rivalry, jealousy and the exchange of women as commodities. Characters communicate without dialogue, only with gestures and grunts, another interesting part of Khamraev's work.
Referred to as an example of a Red Western, "The Bodyguard" takes place at the time of the Basmachi Revolt of the 1920s, an insurrection against Soviet rule in Central Asia. When a Basmachi leader is captured, the Red Army enlists a veteran local hunter to escort the prisoner, accompanied by his servant and daughter, across a difficult area. They are followed by a relentless Basmachi usurper.
'The Seventh Bullet'
Similar to "The Bodyguard," "The Seventh Bullet" is set in the wake of the Basmachi rebellion. Maxumov, a Red Army officer deliberately allows himself to be captured by Basmachi leader Khairulla and arrives at the band's headquarters. He tries to change the soldiers' perception and win them over to his side. Released in 1972, the film revolves around the war of ideas and conflict.
'Man Follows Bird'
Viewers will experience a fairytale atmosphere while watching the film, as Khamraev takes them to medieval times in Uzbekistan. An orphaned boy understands the harsh challenges of the world and the fragility of friendship. Every day, he thinks about his mother who died long before. Khamraev invites viewers to a visionary world.
'I Remember You'
"I Remember You" presents a simple autobiographical story. Upon the request of her sick mother, the protagonist takes a voyage across Russia from Samarkand to find the grave of her father, who died during the war. Gulya Tashbayeva, the director's wife and leading actress in several of his films, gives a haunting performance.