Khudonazarov became the first secretary of the Union of Soviet Film-Makers in 1990. These years of political disturbances were marked by intense upheavals in the cinema of all the republics. Until 1991, the situation seemed to favour national productions. Federal censorship had all but disappeared while state budgets allotted to the cinema by Moscow had been renewed and added to by the first private backing. In many studios, the number of films made beat all previous records and there was also an emergence of independent producers, either co-operatives or private, and often headed by renowned film-makers: Kelechek (Tolomush Okeyev), Salamalekfilm (Bolot Shamchiev), + 1 (Rezo Esadze), Samarkandfilm (Ali Khamrayev), etc.
The loosening of censorship and the lifting of taboos encouraged the rise of a new generation of directors who broadened approaches in the different studios. One of the first genres to benefit from this opening was the documentary, which could at last tackle subjects that had for a long time been banned. One of the best examples is the Armenian documentary school led by Ruben Gevorkiants at the Haik studios ( Islands, 1984; Requiem, 1989) and by Harutiun Khachatrian ( Kond, 1987; The White Town, 1988). Notable young film-makers from this generation are the Georgian Zaza Khalvashi ( There, with Us, 1990), the Uzbeks Djakhongir Faiziev ( Kiadia, 1988; Who Are You?, 1989) and Zulfikar Musakov ( History of a Soldier, 1989), or the Tadjik Bako Sadykov ( Blest Bukhara, 1992). In Kazakhstan the arrival of a group of young film-makers was a definite new wave, imposing a stylistic break with noir films influenced by the new German and American film-makers Fassbinder, Wenders, and Jarmusch: Rashid Nugmanov ( The Needle, 1988), Serik Aprymov ( Terminus, 1989), A. Baranov and B. Kilibaev ( Trio, 1989), and others.
But alongside these innovations, increasing commercial pressures on the cinema led to a pursuit of fashionable themes. Each republic produced its own films about the gulags, the Mafia, drugs, and delinquency. For the few films of interest such as The Stain by the Georgian A. Tsabadze ( 1985) and The Bastard by the Azerbaijani Vagif Mustafayev ( 1989) there are numerous worthless films which have contributed to the public's growing disillusionment with national cinema.
Since 1991, independence for the republics has created a completely new situation full of uncertainty. While western films and videos of all kinds, usually pirated, flood across the screens, national productions are in a period of crisis: national authorities baulk at the prospect of renewing financial backing to studios they believe ought to be self-funding. The film-makers hit back by showing that this would be the death of all creative national films. Certain states ( Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan) have agreed to finance some films, but the emphasis has been put on co-productions in the hope that this will finance the re-equipping of studios. However, the increase in armed conflicts and the economic crisis have reinforced instability and it is to be feared that, in the republics, the blossoming of national cinema may shortly be no more than a memory, one that is, paradoxically, linked to the Soviet experiment.
Passek, Jean-Loup (ed.) ( 1981), Le Cinéma russe et soviétique.
Radvanyi, Jean (ed.) ( 1988), Le Cinema géorgien.
---- ( 1991), Le Cinéma d'Asie centrale soviétique.
---- ( 1993), Le Cinéma arménien.
Cinema arrived in Ottoman Turkey almost the same year as in the west. Pathé Frères' representative in Turkey, the Romanian Sigmund Weinberg, conducted the first film screening in early 1897 at the Restaurant Sponeck in Beyoglu, the cosmopolitan district of Istanbul. Within a few years, film screenings had spread to all the major cities of the Ottoman Empire.
The first film productions in Ottoman Turkey were documentaries made by foreign cameramen. It was not until 1914 that a film made by a Turk was completed: The Demolition of the Russian Monument at St. Stephan, a documentary made by Fuat Uzkinay, an officer in the Ottoman army.
Early productions by Turkish film-makers followed this pattern, being documentaries produced for the Army Film Centre (AFC), which had been formed in 1915 by Enver Pasha, the General Commander of the Ottoman Army and the Minister of War. The first Turkish feature film was not produced until almost twenty years after the first film screening. Weinberg began to shoot The Marriage of Himmet A≥a in 1916, again for the AFC, but it was not completed until after the First World War. The first feature films to be completed were produced by the National Defence Association; The Claw ( 1917) and The Spy ( 1917), both directed by a young journalist, Sedat Simavi.