Eldzhon Abbasov presented silent films of Uzbekistan at the 15th Kazan Muslim Film Festival
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Eldzhon Abbasov presented silent films of Uzbekistan at the 15th Kazan Muslim Film Festival

28 April 2019

The creative meeting with Eldzhon Abbasov, a director and scriptwriter (Uzbekistan), was held today at Mir Cinema within the framework of the 15th Kazan International Muslim Film Festival, during which he presented two films, Minaret of death (1925) by Vyacheslav Viskovsky and Second Wife (1927) by Mikhail Doronin.

These two films were shot in the era of silent cinema. Abbasov currently restoring the works of this period in Uzbekistan. The list of restored works by his team exceeds over 20 films, including Solar Happiness (1926), Chadra (1927), The Closed Wagon (1928), From the Mosque Vaults (1928), Her Right"(1931) and others.

‘Uzbekistan is the birthplace of cinema in Central Asia. This is the place, where in mid-1920s first Central Asian feature films were created. Our team is trying to restore these forgotten pieces’, commented Eldzhon Abbasov.

Minaret of Death is the first silent film in Central Asia. It was created in 1925 in Bukhara and tells the story of Khiva Khan’s daughter Cemal and her sister Selekh. They depart from Bukhara to Khiva, but were attacked by caravan robbers. ‘The Central Asian cinema was created by visiting people as touring directors, artists of different countries. For example, your countryman, a Soviet Tatar actor and director Khalil Abzhalilov played an episodic role of the ataman in the film’, commented Eldzhon Abbasov.

Second Wife is the first film, where an Uzbek women played a role. Previously, female roles were performed by invited actresses from other countries, as Uzbek women used to hide their faces. The film plot is devoted to the early years of Soviet power in Central Asia and focuses on the story of two friends, Adolyat and Qumri. ‘Films were shot at a turning point: there was a battle between old traditions and new orders. The films reflected this change is the society. The most amazing thing is that decorations were not used during the shootings; neither special costumes were produced. The behaviour and emotions of people were natural’, shared Eldzhon Abbasov. ‘In fact, these films are chronicles. We can see Tashkent as it was at that time. Unfortunately, many buildings were demolished’.

Eldzhon Abbasov announced that his team is currently launching an educational media course, Kinolektoriy, that visualizes the history of silent cinema in Uzbekistan. The project is based on data stored in the rfunds of the State Film Fund of the Russian Federation, the State Archive of Uzbekistan, Institute of Art Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Cinema Arts of Uzbekistan.