Archive of films Sanzhyra / Sanzhyra

Russia / Kyrgyzstan
2001, 15 min

Section: Documentary Films in Competition
Year: 2001


Sanzhyra – the title of this short Kyrghyz film – is neither the name of the young protagonist or of the circumcision ceremony (which concludes the film) he has to go through one summer day. As the film’s producers, film critics Evghenia Tirdatova and Pyotr Cherniaev, claim the word comes from an old song but no one knows any longer exactly what it means. The genre of the film is also ambiguous but this short work is undeniably captivating in its presentation of the ethnographically exotic: from shots of the incredibly beautiful landscape to events, both commonplace and ceremonial, which take place in the mountain village. The film’s most important level involves the boy’s feelings and experiences as he prepares to enter the world of men with both fear and curiosity. And anticipating the ritual is as mysterious as the ritual itself. At first sight this routine matter ends, marks, promises and defines something – at the ethical level above all as it is conditioned by the timeless values of culture and tradition. The film was shot by director Nurbek Egen and cameraman Alexei Todorov, students of Moscow’s Film School (VGIK).

About the director

Nurbek Egen (b. 1975, Osh Region, Kyrghyzia) mastered Russian while studying at Moscow’s Film School (VGIK). There he made the short film The Closed Space (Zakryty kosmos, 1999) about a young boy from a normal family unable to manage his schoolwork. The film’s appeal lies in the unusual expression of the otherness of the boy’s perception of the world and his escape into the world of fantasy.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Documentary Films in Competition
Director: Nurbek Egen
Screenplay: Serik Beiseu, Evgenia Tirdatova/Jevgenie Tirdatovová, Nurbek Egen
Dir. of Photography: Alexej Todorov
Music: Saamal Group
Editor: Nurbek Egen, Valentina Nikiforova
Producer: Jevgenije Tirdatovová/Evgenia Tirdatova, Pjotr Čerňajev/Pyotr Cherniav
Production: Kinoglaz, Kyrghyzfilm Studios, Aryk Company
Cast: Nursultan Sayakbaev, Zhypara Kalygulova, Bapa Batyrkanov

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