Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Don't Blink Now, It's Kazakhstan

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Don't Blink Now, It's Kazakhstan

Article excerpt

The Kazakh film industry was a ship in the night. It raised a few hopes, but now it's vanishing.

At the end of the 1980s, cinema was the first cultural activity in Kazakhstan to feet the currents of freedom that Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of perestroika had unleashed. A dozen young film-makers who had trained at Moscow's prestigious VGIK film school returned home in 1987, including Serik Aprimov, Darezhan Omirbayev, Amir Karakulov, Talgat Temenov, all of whom would soon be winning prizes in major film festivals.

The story of the country's film industry began with Rashid Nugmanov's 1988 film The Needle, which was a big hit all over the then Soviet Union and one of the first films to break the taboo of talking about drug addiction. Next came Aprimov's Terminus, a film depicting the absurdity of daily life in a Kazakh village.

These films set a realist tone, and the works that followed -- many of them autobiographical -- claim to follow in the tracks of France's "new wave." With their almost documentary styles and ingenuous touches, these films gave directors the freedom to say exactly what they felt. …

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