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Kazakh breakthrough movie wins First Feature Award at Washington Filmfest

08 july 2014, 19:58
Still from the movie Harmony Lessons
Still from the movie Harmony Lessons
Emir Baigazin ©kazakhfilmstudios.kz
Emir Baigazin ©kazakhfilmstudios.kz
Baigazin during the shooting
Baigazin during the shooting

Kazakh-German drama film Harmony Lessons by Emir Baigazin won the Busboys and Poets First Feature Award at the 28th Filmfest DC, a Tengrinews correspondent reports. The film by the Kazakh director was also awarded $3,000 in prize money.

The First Feature award jury selected Harmony Lessons for its “sensible handling of current and universal issues in an unexpected environment while treating primal needs and emotions with great psychological awareness; for its stunning visuals; artistry, moments of irony, convincing performances from non-professional actors and a sureness of direction never underestimating the intelligence of the audience”.

The International Film Festival in Washington has been held annually since 1987. This year, 80 different films were screened within a 10 day timeframe.

This Filmfest is not the first major international film event, where Harmony Lessons has been recognized for its artistry.  The film has participated in more than 60 film festivals and has won more than 25 awards. It was the only first feature selected for the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival competition. Cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiyev won a Silver Berlin Bear for his outstanding artistic contribution. 

The film tells a story of a 12-year-old boy Aslan who lives in a remote rural area in Kazakhstan with his grandmother. He is humiliated by a group of young bullies at school. After being ostracized, Aslan withdraws and finds refuge in studies, all the while preparing a revenge.

Zhambakiyev’s cinematography shows what is going on in Aslan’s head, it guides the audience through the darkest and deepest emotional and psychological experiences of the young boy. Yet, one is never sure just what to expect next.

Emir Baygazin, proclaimed Kazakhtan’s Kim Ki-duk, has successfully finished filming his next feature Wounded Angel that is now in post-production.

By Dinara Urazova

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