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still Beshkempir (Aktan Abdykalykov, KG/FR 1998)


Aktan Abdykalykov / KG, FR, 1998 / 81 min.

Saodat Ismailova selected films that inspired her to accompany her exhibition. Beshkempir is about a boy in a Kyrgyz village whose life is upended when he discovers he was adopted. Pure cinematic art.

poster Beshkempir (Aktan Abdykalykov, KG/FR 1998)

Especially for her exhibition ‘18,000 Worlds’, Saodat Ismailova selected films that provide an impression of the unfortunately unknown, yet exceptional cinematic history of Central Asia. For many years, filmmakers had to tow the line with Soviet ideology. Within these constraints, they developed their own way of portraying their countries, stories and culture. This created a unique cinematic legacy, the majority of which has never been seen outside the former Soviet Union. This film programme is an ode to the inspiring filmmakers from the region who, despite all the challenges, always continued to make films.

Saodat Ismailova about Beshkempir: “When I watched Beshkempir as a young filmmaker, it confirmed to me that we could work with what central Asia has to offer. Director Aktan Abdykalykov is deeply connected to the region, providing insight into traditional village life in Rural Kyrgyzstan, which is where he grew up. He studied film during the Soviet era and when, suddenly, more space developed for filmmakers’ personalities, he developed his own, sensitive visual language.’

Saodat Ismailova’s exhibition 18,000 Worlds, that features installations and video works, explores the invisible foundations of Central Asia. Using personal and collective memories she links myths and the region’s recent history examining the healing effects of spiritual heritage.

See the exhibition page for the other public programmes accompanying the exhibition and the screenings of Central Asian films selected by Saodat Ismailova including work from Ali Khamraev. Films especially selected for 18,000 Worlds will also be available on Eye Film Player.

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Aktan Abdykalykov

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81 min.







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Saodat Ismailova

In 18,000 Worlds, Saodat Ismailova explores the invisible foundations of Central Asia. Moving from personal to collective memory, she connects myths from the region to its recent history and addresses its spiritual heritage for healing. In 2022, the artist and filmmaker received the Eye Art & Film Prize for her oeuvre, in which she devotes attention to the complex, layered culture of her motherland. This is her first major retrospective exhibition.

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