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Bouzkachi
Bouzkachi: le chant des steppes
dir. Jacques Debs / France, null, Poland 2008 / 90’
subtitles: Polish and English
Movies on Art International Competition

Cast

Ali Choriev, Stasys Eidrigevicius, Dilbar Gunayeva, Gulam Khairallah, Avaz Mouninov

Film description

Bouzkachi is a bloody sports discipline and ritual ceremony which has been practiced in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan for ages. Two teams on horses fight for the corpse of a goat (in the past, the headless corpse of a slave). The one who manages to capture it, to run from the opposite team, to remain on horseback and not to be trampled - is the winner.

Jacques Debs uses the story-in-the-story convention to present a documentary of the archaic ritual in parallel to a lyrical love story inspired by the 14th-century poem by the Persian poet Hafez and its version in drawings created over 40 days on many metres of paper by Stasys Eidrigevicius. Drawings open and close the film's sequences like chapters of a legend in a book, like a fresco developing gradually together with the plot - the director says. Stasys draws his own version of the story: animals and people change heads and roles, the landscapes of the steppe and rigid architecture of Buchara are the backdrop against which the archaic ceremony is set: the horsemen are pulling not a goat, but a girl. And at the same time contemporariness penetrates this mythical world somehow: we can see chairs of plastic, jeeps... the legend about two boys and a girl evolves into a panoramic fresco about the spiritual roots of one of the least known regions of the world: Central Asia.

Ewa Szabłowska

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