Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2015 Projects

2015 Script Development Fund Projects

Project Barzakh
Category Asian Project
Project Barzakh
Director Saodat ISMAILOVA
Country Uzbekistan / France / Tajikistan
Director's Profile Born in Uzbekistan, Saodat Ismailova studied filmmaking at the Tashkent State Art Institute and joined the cinema department of Fabrica in Italy in 2002 where she co-directed the award winning Aral: Fishing In An Invisible Sea. In 2014, 40 Days of Silence premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival - Forum. Now she is developing her next film project Barzakh. Ismailova presented her video and sound installations at various art spaces, such as “Zukhra” - participant of Venice Biennale of Arts. She has directed ten series documentary films dedicated to the music of Central Asia published by Smithsonian Folkways. Saodat Ismailova has her own company Map Productions, in Tashkent.
Lutfia (47) arrives to the city, from a distant village in a search of her niece – Nigora (29). Lutfia suddenly dies the moment she finds her. This death pulls the family together and causes new wounds to burst open. No one can decide to burry Lutfia in the city where her family is or to take her back to the village where her husband’s grave is. Tursun (43), Lutfia’s sister, decides to take Lutfia’s body back to the village against her family’s approval. Tursun and her niece Nigora, hire a taxi driver Ravshan (37), and start their journey with the body to a distant southern village. Re-organization of the roads, creation of new borders in a reshaped Central Asia and the guilty consciences of the characters turn a twelve-hour trip into exhausting three day journey. Crossing desolate post-soviet industrial cities, eating at road cafes, getting stuck in border controls, observing the ever living fire of Darvaza "Gates to Hell"- a leaking gas crater, taking a bath in the Panj River, pushing the car to closest village, worshiping a shrine, enjoying watermelons, experiencing grief and joy at the same time, takes the three living and one dead further into the higher mountains, where they get lost. This journey unfolds Lutfia’s damaging marriage and fertile womanhood. Barzakh becomes a micro cosmos of the three living locked in a metal bird, Nigora finally accepts her guilt and fights with unexpected feelings of love with the driver, Ravshan gradually turns into Charon of Lutfia’s Bardo. Tursun fights her guilty conscience for taking the sister’s body back to the place from where Lutfia wanted to escape from all her life.
Director's Note
In August 1999, my aunt Lutfia came from the southern village and died looking in my eyes. It was my first conscience experience of death; I witnessed a short glimpse of life vanishing in one’s eyes with her last breath. My mother decided to take the body of her sister back to a village far away. Barzakh is an intimate story, but it can relate to anyone preoccupied about home or earthly destiny. The road that crossed more than thousand kilometers through Central Asia, gave me the chance to explore the reality of today, imprinted by a rich and tense historical past, diverse beauty and inseparable problems. Barzakh is also a story about human weakness confronting nature, and likewise story of three living humans reconnecting and rebuilding a lost dialogue.
Still Cut
Saodat Ismailova /