Hello to all of the Omirbaev fans! Few days ago I was so lucky to meet Darezhan, and he was quite interested, having heard from me about Mubi and his fans here. He was so kind that promised to make an interview specially for us. So now everyone who is interested can post here the questions which he or she would like to ask Darezhan, and get an answer from him ( I would collect them and then meet him once again for the interview).
Just to refresh (though I am sure you all know this): Darezhan Omirbaev is a prominent Kazakh “New Wave” director, often called the “Central-Asian Bresson”, the auteur who directed such movies as “Shilde/July”, which is presented at the Director’s Cup 2011 by Arsaib, “Kairat”, “The Killer”, “Cardiogram”, “Zhol/The Road” and “Chouga” ( I promise the translation of this movie asap).
Currently Darezhan is working (on pre-production stage) on the new project based on Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime&Punishment”. Its working title so far is “The Student”. Like “Chouga”, it will be the juxtaposition of the classic plot and the contemporary Kazakhstan’s reality.
And his favorite directors are Bresson and Godard.
I don’t know much about him, except that Kairat is a fine film. I suppose I’d ask him: 1.) if the collapse of the USSR facilitated in any way that he started making films, rather than continuing as a critic, and 2.) if his theoretical background plays a significant role when developing a new film as writer-director.
Well done, Gulazhar. No surprise he likes Bresson- July has that sort of understated feel about it, superb little film which expresses itself very well visually, allowing for contemplation and some lyricism. It had me thinking how those boys woud have been changed by their experience of the train passenger- we the viewer knowing more than they, but i fear they would have become rather more cynical and suspicious, even though they seemed to take it in their stride. That is all conjecture but it raised several interesting issues. I look forward to seeing a lot more by Omirbaev, and also becoming more familiar with Kazakh culture. I have at least seen The Fall of Otrar, Tulpan- both pretty good- and have a music cd of Raushan Orazbaeva, and there’s a fine list in the Lists section here of Central Asian Cinema, by Arsaib. A neglected area. Kazakhstan is among the biggest countries of the world, yet is often overlooked and/or unfamiliar- no doubt why it was picked (dare i mention this?) for Borat.
I’d have to give some thought to questions. The Bresson bit has already been covered.
That’s great, Gulazhar! For anyone interested, we’re showing a couple of his films here so you can watch them first and ask questions!
Two excellent discoveries i’ve made in the Directors Cup are about children in rather out of the way places, close to nature, in understated style and b+w, and their lives are also touched by cinema in different ways: July and Guerin’s debut Berta’s Motives. Oh and they also have bikes and get a misleading impression of a stranger
i don’t know what’s more exciting, the interview or the subs!
brilliant news Gulazhar!!
…now…to come up with some questions…..
I was impressed by Omirbaev’s direction in his film July, which is the only film of his I’ve seen so far, and I think I would have liked the film even more if I didn’t have something of a personal aversion to movies about young boys “coming of age” that is hard for me to overcome. I look forward to seeing more of his films, and I’ll try to catch one soon and think of some questions if anything leaps to mind that may be interesting.
One thing I would be interested to hear his opinion on in a more general sense is how he feels about the internet, torrenting, and youtube versus more traditional models of viewing since his films now can be seen by people who wouldn’t have had the chance before, but he may not be getting much money from that increased viewship. I think this is an important issue for filmmakers today, and particularly those who aren’t working in large commercial markets or styles, so I’m always interested to hear what each artist thinks about those changes. I’m also always interested to hear artists talk about what they admire in other artists or artworks that may not seem particularly similar to their own. Not direct influences necessarily, just their appreciation as a viewer.
Godard famously said cinema is dead.
Recently (2010) he said this
But it’s not getting rid of things — it’s all just a bygone era. Anne-Marie [Miéville] did it before I did. It’s over — you can barely create anything. The cinema is a small society that was formed a hundred years ago, in which there were all these human connections, money relationships, relationships having to do with women — and that’s gone. The history of the cinema isn’t one of films, just like how the history of painting isn’t one of canvases. The cinema barely existed. I personally attempted to turn it into something else. But these days, I’m on my last legs.
I think he laments the passing of the closeness and the human connections of cinema production. I think he is also referencing the ability of a person to influence the medium.
One question to Darezhan could be:
What does he feel his influence on cinema will be ?
Greg X touches on an important subject, linked to what we are trying to do with competitions like this, raising the profile of negected directors and films in a world dominated by Hollywood, Anglophone culture, multiplexes and so many similar (dumb and trashy i,m.o) channels on TV, a world in which still so many fine international films are not on dvd or easily accessible.
I’d like to know more on Kazakhstan. I only found out last year that Astana had replaced Almaty as capital city (with all the new buildings wondering if this is a successful project, likely to help the country’s international reputation. Given the Presidential link to the change, i don’t know if Darezhan can comment on the city, but would like to ask
- What does Darezhan most like about Kazakhstan and its culture, and would he recommend as especially worthy of wider interest and discovery?
I’ll come back with questions later, but was just wondering whether Mubi would consider a Cinema 21 project for this. Don’t know who decides these things and who to talk to, but this might be a great opportunity to draw much needed attention to this very great filmmaker.
Gulazhar, much thanks for all the work.
Thanks again for this, Gulazhar. I can’t wait to read what Mr. Omirbaev has to say about his own work and cinema in general. I’ll try to think of something interesting to ask him.
As Daniel mentioned earlier, The Road and Killer can be viewed here at Mubi. For those in the U.S., the latter is also available via Netflix. And if you’re interested in watching July, a competition entry in the upcoming Directors’ Cup, please contact me or Cecil. Thanks.
Hello everybody! Finally I’m done with “Chouga” subs! I know I made you wait a bit longer than I expected, but I was quite short of time these days, unfortunately… Those who need the subs, please PM me your email addresses, and I will send it to you.