Suleiman Mountain

Thursday, April 12, 2018
6:00 p.m.

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Friday, April 13, 2018
5:30 p.m.
YBCA Screening Room


Saturday, April 14, 2018
2:00 p.m.
Roxie Theater

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Without preamble, a young Kyrgyz boy is taken out of an orphanage and into the lives of his supposed parents who make ends meet by running various cons on unsuspecting villagers. Director Stishova weaves mythological and even comedic elements into a beautifully filmed tale that centers around the titular mountain, a mysterious and holy place where the prophet Solomon is said to be buried and where the film's characters aim to find their destinies.

It's the way that the Russian actress-turned-filmmaker drops you into this immersive, rarely seen landscape of Central Asian culture – as seen through the perspectives of shamans, shameless grifters, and sad-eyed kids – that makes this neorealistic tale so remarkably rewarding. Working with a cast of mostly nonprofessional Kyrgyzstani actors, she paints a picture of life along the Silk Road’s townships as both hardscrabble and honorable, where 20th-century modernities inherited from Eastern Europe jostle up against centuries–old folk traditions. And thanks to her performers – especially Perizat Ermanbaeva as a healer with hell-or-high-water maternal instincts and Turgunai Erkinbekova as the con man’s jealous, much younger second wife – the movie brings home the humanistic notion that, at the end of the day, the concept of family is a bond thicker and stickier than blood.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Director Elizaveta Stishova

Born in Moscow, Elisaveta Stishova studied theater directing at the Russian University at Theater Arts and is an alumna of Berlinale Talents program; she worked briefly as an actress before directing the short films The Hen (2008), Watering (2009), and The Seagull (2012). It was during her work on a short in Kyrgyzstan that, upon seeing a mother and son walking the streets, she was inspired to develop Suleiman Mountain, her first feature. “It’s a big fight for love,” she’s said when describing the film. “Nobody wins and nobody loses. It’s life.”

Film Details
  • Country(ies): Kyrgyzstan/Russia
  • Language(s): Russian, Kyrgyz
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 103
  • Director(s): Elizaveta Stishova
  • Producer(s): Yelena Yatsura, Victor Kuznetsov, Andrey Devyatkin
  • Writer(s): Alisa Khmelnitskaya
  • Cinematographer(s): Tudor Vladimir Panduru
  • Editor(s): Karolina Maciejewska
  • With: Asset Imangaliev, Perizat Ermanbetova, Turgunai Erkinbekova

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