From the start, Central Asian film has been characterized by poetic images, shots of endless stretches of land and taciturn people. But filming the traditional rural life depicted in Aitmatov's books belongs to the past. Films now take as their subject the ecological disaster of the Aral Sea, stagnating economic development, or city-life and wrap it in road movies, thrillers or wild rock 'n' roll films. Yet since film in these Central Asian countries is no longer that "foremost of all art forms" Lenin postulated, film-makers are fighting for survival. The Soviet command economy prescribed support for film, bringing both financial help and censorship in its wake, but after the Soviet era ended, film-makers have had to manage on tiny budgets, using technically-outdated equipment. It's led to the creation of the main stylistic elements in Central Asian film: black-and-white films, without dubbing, using lay actors. There are hardly any films shown in western cinemas, and the few exceptions like "Jol"(The Road) - were either financed with money from abroad or are foreign films, only borrowing the impressive "location" of the Central Asian states.
Author: Herbert Krill
For the full-length article please refer to the German version.