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Emir Baigazin proclaimed Kazakhstan's Kim Ki-duk

05 december 2013, 17:00
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A shot from film <i>Harmony Lessons</i>
A shot from film Harmony Lessons
A shot from film <i>Harmony Lessons</i>
A shot from film Harmony Lessons
Emir Baigazin. ©AFP
Emir Baigazin. ©AFP
Aziz Zhambakiyev. ©AFP
Aziz Zhambakiyev. ©AFP
The representatives of Kazakhstan's delegation at Berlinale. ©AFP
The representatives of Kazakhstan's delegation at Berlinale. ©AFP
The Kazakh premier of the most titled Kazakhstan’s movie Harmony Lessons of debuting film director Emir Baigazin took place at Arman theater in Almaty on December 5, Tengrinews reports.

The movie's shooting crew led by the film director presented the film to the Kazakhstan audience for the first time after its world premiere at the Berlinale Film Festival in February 2013. Emir Baigazin gave high praise to everyone who worked on the film, and personally thanked Yermek Amanshiyev, President of Kazakhfilm studios, for his support.

Kazakhstan director of Harmony Lessons Emir Baigazin, 29, managed to become a jury member at the International Film Festival in Locarno, win the international Berlinale Residency fellowship program for production and distribution funding of his new project and was proclaimed Kazakhstan’s Kim Ki-duk after his movie was acknowledged worldwide.

"The film tells a very genuine story, but some of the moments are unpleasant to watch. Emir Baigazin is involving our physical feelings somehow. I think that something about Emir Baigazin is similar to South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. Kim Ki-duk's movies are also unpleasant to watch in places, but after you finish watching his film it leaves you stunned. Harmony Lessons deals a blow. (...) The most amazing thing is that you take the side of the lead character, who is the murderer. It would seem that you should detest him, but instead you try to justify him. This is the artistic power of the film," Kazakhstan film expert Gulnar Abikeyeva said.

Harmony Lessons tells a story of a 13-y.o. schoolboy Aslan who lives with his grandmother in a small Kazakh village. Aslan is an outstanding student. He is tidy and organized, a perfectionist. Bolat, the leader of a boys' gang, publicly humiliates Aslan. Aslan never forgives the bully and calmly and methodically prepares a terrible revenge for him. He practices on cockroaches, torturing them on a miniature electric chair, and assembles his own gun. Later a new student Mirsain comes to school, he stands up for Aslan, never knowing what will come out of it.

Timur Aidarbekov, a boy from an orphanage, played Aslan in the film.

According to the film director, the plot of the movie is not connected to any country, the story can take place anywhere in the world. "Harmony Lessons is a film about struggle for survival. (...) The conflicting reality is that the kids go to school where they are told about love and humanity at Literature lessons, then they learn about Darwin and his theory of natural selection and struggle for survival at Biology lessons, and then they are taught about the design of a bullet and how it can kill a man at Basic Military Training lessons. This is a principle of the harmony lessons in the higher sense," Baigazin said.

Harmony Lessons was awarded as the Best Asian Film by NETPAC jury at the 7th International Film Festival in Abu-Dhabi, UAE.

Besides, the film Harmony Lessons got the prizes for Best Debut and Honorable Mention for Best Cinematography at the 22th Film Festival, that took place on October 17-27 in Philadelphia, USA.

Harmony Lessons received award from NETPAC (The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) jury at the Warsaw Film Festival in Poland.

Another prize that Harmony Lessons gained was the Special Mentions award at the Flanders International Film Festival Ghent in Belgium.

The film won a Silver Bear at Berlinale for the Artistic Achievement of its cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiyev and also got the prize of the Morgen Post newspaper.

Harmony Lessons won the special jury prize for the Best Filmmaker’s Debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and the Grand-Prix of the Switzerland Film Festival in Basel.

The film also received The Best Director award at the 3rd International Sakhalin Film Festival On the Edge.

The movie of Emir Baigazin was also presented out of competition at A class film festivals in the Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland and Canada.

The Harmony Lessons is screened in Arman and Cesar cinemas in Almaty these days.

Arman cinema is located at #104 Dostyk Avenue at the crossing with Abai Av., and Cesar cinema is located at #50 Furmanov Str. at the crossing with Gogol Str.

The official trailer of the movie:

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