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Central Asia

And Then We Danced (2019)
Levan Akin
Georgia
113′
Merab has been training since a young age at the National Georgian Ensemble with his dance partner Mary. His world is suddenly turned upside down when the charismatic and carefree Irakli arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire. In this conservative setting Merab finds himself having to break free and risk it all.
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Blind Dates (2013)
Levan Koguashvili
Georgia
99′
Sandro is a forty-something teacher and still lives with his parents, who constantly meddle in his private life. He shows little interest in the blind dates his friend Iva pressures him to go on. On an outing to the Black Sea, he falls in love with the hairdresser Manana. When her husband Tengo is released from jail early, Sandro’s predicament takes on absurd dimensions. He gets caught up in wild family disputes and feels compelled to move Natia, pregnant with Tengo’s child, into his parents’ home. Wrong conclusions and misunderstandings are the driving force of this melancholy comedy, in which everyone meddles with everything but no one really listens, which only leads to yet further confusion. When in doubt, they all argue together with true ferocity, the situation invariably ending in intense outbursts. Levan Koguashvili’s second feature is thus in keeping with the best traditions of Georgian cinema. The narrative tone stays calm, as the events come thick and fast. Unsentimental, with various ellipses and allusions, and shot with wonderful colour compositions and an incredible feel for space, architecture and cityscapes, the film ultimately attains extraordinary profundity.
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Heavenly Nomadic (2015)
Mirlan Abdykalykow
Kyrgyzstan
78′
A nomadic family lives with their horses in the intoxicating nature of Kyrgyzstan. Schaiyr's husband drowned in the nearby river years ago. A new love is on the horizon as meteorologist Jermek sets up his measuring station next to Schaiyr's home. Told in the gentle rhythm of the nomadic life, director Mirlan Abdykalykow takes us on a journey through time into the easily vulnerable heart of a family and into the dreamlike nature.
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Leto (2018)
Kirill Serebrennikov
Russia
128′
Leningrad, one summer in the early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of the Perestroika. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the destiny of rock’n’roll in the Soviet Union.
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The Light Thief (2010)
Aktan Abdykalykow - Arym Kubat
Kyrgyzstan
79′
They call him "Svet-ake" ("Mr. Light"). The electrician is responsible for bringing more than just light to the people around him. Like moths, everybody is drawn to his kindness: those with short circuits in their electricity, and those with short circuits in their marriage, those who have taken all the power in the city, and those who have given up the will to live. He helps everyone and is everywhere. He doesn't even shy from breaking the law, rewinding an old and lonely pensioner's electricity meter so that he doesn't owe the State, but rather the State owes him. The economic devastation of the country has had an enormous impact on the working people and yet despite the upheaval they have not lost the ability to love, to suffer, to share their lives with friends, and enjoy what they have... in particular our resilient electrician who possesses a wonderful and open heart. He not only brings electric light (which is often out) to the lives of the inhabitants of this village, but he also spreads the light of love, loyalty, life, and most of all, lots of laughter. He only has two dreams: to someday have a son and to provide people with cheaper energy through wind power. Allen nennen ihn nur Svet-Ake (Herr Licht). Er ist der Elektriker des Orts, aber für viel mehr als nur für den Strom zuständig. Die Leute rufen den hilfsbereiten Mann zur Lösung der unterschiedlichsten Probleme, angefangen beim elektrischen Kurzschluss bis hin zum Beziehungskurzschluss. Egal, ob es die sind, die die ganze Energie einer Stadt kontrollieren wollen, oder jene, denen die Energie zum Leben fehlt: Svet-Ake ist immer zur Stelle mit praktischer Hilfe und Rat, auch wenn er manchmal das Gesetz zurechtbiegen muss. Da wird aus schierem Mitleid auch mal ein Stromzähler rückwärts eingestellt, so dass der bedürftige Benutzer statt der hohen Stromrechnung eine Gutschrift vom Elektrizitätswerk ausbezahlt bekommt. Doch Gutherzigkeit wird in einem Land, das mitten im politischen Umbruch steckt, nicht automatisch belohnt. Aktan Arym Kubat beschreibt in «Svet-Ake» auf vergnüglich lockere Art den Alltag im unabhängig gewordenen Kirgisistan und zeigt, indem er die Hauptrolle gleich selber spielt, dass die Menschen auch lernen müssen, mit der Freiheit umzugehen. The country is the midst of a revolution. Power lies in the hands of greed-driven people, obsessed with their personal enrichment. "Svet-ake" is a resistance against this dark madness. He who brings the light, takes it away, leaving the darkness in the dark. Only the light of the dream remains glowing in the night; a candle of a very delicate hope.
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The Other Bank (2010)
George Ovashvili
Georgia
89′
Twelve-year-old Tedo lives with his young mother in Keto in an isolated hut on the outskirts of Tiflis. Tedo and Keto are refugees from Abchasia. The civil war has claimed everything they ever owned, including Tedo’s and Keto’s hopes for a bright future as an intact family unit. Tedo was just four years of age when they were obliged to flee from Abchasia. At the time, they had to leave behind Tedo’s father - his weak heart made it impossible for him to take on such a strenuous journey. Tedo is now an apprentice at a car repair shop and Keto is working as a sales assistant. Tedo gives the few pennies that he earns to his mother so that she no longer has to be nice to strange, unfriendly men. It pains the young boy agreat deal that he cannot earn more of a living for them; moreover, his mother’s moral conduct begins to weigh heavily on him. One day, when he discovers that she has a lover it becomes all too much for him and he decides to return to his father in Abchasia. Perhaps he will find the solution to all his problems there. Tedo meets many people on his journey - and suffers many a blow. He is by no means welcome everywhere. As his journey comes to an end he has acquired many an insight - such as the realisation that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.
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The Prince of Nothingwood (2016)
Sonia Kronlund
France
86′
Director Sonia Kronlund accompanies the Afghan director, actor and screenwriter Salim Shaheen in her film Nothingwood. He is a well-known figure on the film scene in his home country, but hardly known abroad. About a hundred kilometers away from Kabul, Salim Shaheen comes to show some of his 110 films and to shoot the 111th in the process.
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