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SCO “politically unhealthy” film ban

10 Jun

With Tashkent making last minute preparations for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit on 23-24 June, Lord Venal came across this enlightening memo from his recent trip to Tajikistan.

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Tashkent: Sprucing up the Palace of Forums for the SCO summit

Having caught his breath after the crammed programme of his referendum monitoring visit to Dushanbe (frankly the hosts’ generosity – particularly with alcohol – left some parts of the programme rather a blur), Lord Venal found he must have somewhere picked up another interesting document.

This appears to be a proposed secret ban on a number of foreign films, which the SCO considers promote a “politically unhealthy attitude to elected leaders”. The document – which asks that the six member governments back the ban and implement it with no publicity – lists the first batch of what are likely to be a growing list of films, together with a brief description. It calls on the films to be banned from showing in cinemas and on television and blocked on the internet.

Lord Venal remembers seeing several of these at the Rutland Odeon when they first came out in the 1970s, and points out, with some modesty, that he was often told that he bore a passing resemblance to Edward Fox in his youth.

“Films to be banned from presentation (as of 12.04.2016):

October (USSR, 1928) – glorifies the violent overthrow of an established government and turns rebels into heroes.

The Great Dictator (USA, 1940) – encourages unhealthy ridicule of elected leaders and slander over their character and leadership.

Day of the Jackal (UK/France, 1973) – unacceptable presentation of the idea that assassinating an elected head of state is feasible or desirable.

All the President’s Men (USA, 1976) – encourages a cynical attitude to politics and applauds the removal from office of an elected leader.

Primary Colors (US, 1998) – normalises the concept that the outcome of an election could be uncertain.

Downfall (Germany, 2004) – its presentation of the psychological breakdown and encouragement to suicide of an elected head of state promotes an unhealthy attitude to political leadership.

Valkyrie (USA/Germany, 2008) – normalises for viewers the unacceptable idea that organising a coup and removing elected political leaders could be honourable.

Leviathan (Russia, 2014) – depicts an elected politician in an unfavourable light, thus breeding unhealthy cynicism among viewers.”

 

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GooGoosha update: Hollywood Insider Provides Insight into Gulnara Karimova’s ‘Problems’

13 Mar

The following is a post from Kazaxia partner-in-crime the Spektator.

Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has been complaining of a tough life of late, portraying herself as a victim of her father’s police state on Twitter and suffering under house arrest while the powers that be conduct raids on what remains of her business empire and her little sister calls her a bitch. But apparently it has all been an act – literally – the proceedings have all been part of elaborate preparations for Guli: The Film, expected to be released early next year.

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When Googoosha met Gerard … (taken from fergananews.com)

Gulnara came to us with an enormous budget and informed us she wanted to play the lead role in an autobiographical film called Guli: The Film. The problem was the film didn’t have a storyline,” explained a Hollywood source familiar with the screen play to Kazaxia yesterday.

We told her that every character worthy of a film has to have an arc. Take Frodo in Lord of the rings, for instance. No-one would want to make a film about a hobbit that just went around routinely extorting bribes from mobile phone companies and stealing restaurants from other hobbits,” the source continued. “A strong lead needs to go from rags to riches or vice-versa. At the time the idea of the film came about Gulnara’s arc was just a flat line of slightly controversial fashion shows, hostile takeovers in the Uzbek economy and oriental-kitsch music videos that no-one seemed to be watching. We needed something to actually happen in her life, so we got in touch with Gulnara’s father, Islam.”

Calling Gulnara, 41, “a great method actress”, the source refused to divulge the plot of Guli: The Film but confirmed that Karimova’s mother, Tatiana, had kindly agreed to play the role of a wicked witch that plans Karimova’s downfall, while Karimova’s personal friend, Gerard Depardieu, is set to play Rustam Inoyatov, the grizzly head of Uzbekistan’s SNB security service. Curiously the source also confirmed that Adam Sandler had auditioned for a role as a foreigner “who gets lost in Tashkent and meets a beautiful Uzbekistani princess”.

The source did admit there had been “some creative differences” between Karimova and the makers of the film. “Gulnara views the story as a high drama but we view it very much as a comedy. We are trying to win her over,” the Hollywood insider disclosed.

Dariga Nazarbayeva – Queen of the Freaks

13 Dec

Whoops – President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga, put her foot in it in a spectacular fashion on 11 December when she described disabled children as “freaks”.

Nazarbayeva suggested that teenage pregnancies could be discouraged by arranging school visits to orphanages for children with disabilities – in her strange world these “freaks”, as she refers to the unfortunate inhabitants of the orphanages, are linked to ” an unreasoned, premature sex life”.

Dariga – Queen of the Freaks?

Maybe compulsory viewing in schools of Kazakhstan’s Queen of the Freaks in action would be enough to put people off ever having kids. Dariga would be well-advised to watch Tod Browning’s 1932 classic “Freaks” to see what fate could await her if she continues to make disparaging comments about others.

Kazakhstan: Aliya Nazarbayeva Goes Green

21 May

Aliya Nazarbayeva, youngest daughter of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, is positioning herself as  Kazakhstan’s eco-warrior-in-chief  with a screening of her documentary Awakeningwhich opened the New York Eurasian Fim Festival on May 20.

The 34-minute film deals with the greening of Kazakhstan and draws heavily on her father’s “Green Bridge” initiative, a Kazakh-government led project that aims to boost green development by sharing research and ideas between developed and developing countries.

This move sees Ms Nazarbayeva branching out from the world of jewellery design, with her Alsara brand, into film production and environmental protection, but could this also be the start of a more active involvement in politics?

The Eurasian Film Festival runs until May 24 and has free screenings of films from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Bulgaria and Poland.

Free Kazakh Films in Almaty for Nauryz

20 Mar

In the run-up to and during the Nauryz  holiday in Kazakhstan, Almaty’s City Mayor’s office is offering the chance to see some Kazakh films that have been making a splash on the nation’s screens in recent years. There will be free screenings of a number of Kazakh films at cinemas all over Almaty from March 20-25.

The films on show include Shal (The Old Man) and Kelin (The Bride) by Kazakh director Yermek Tursunov and Zheruik (Promised Land), which deals with the mass deportations of Koreans to Central Asia in World War II.

For a full list of what’s on and where, check out this link.

Kazakhstan: The Leader’s Fame Knows No Bounds

10 Oct

The cult of personality that has been developing around Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev shows no sign of abating as a Kazakh artist unveils a huge canvas with the president at its centre and a town in Turkey names a street after the long-serving leader.

Kazakh artist Amanat Nazarkul’s masterwork “Astana — The City of Youth and Knowledge” depicts President Nazarbayev surrounded by adoring crowds with white doves flying overhead as he opens a new university facility in the his purpose-built capital city.

Nazurkul took nine months to complete the canvas which contains imagery that harks back to the glory days of socialist realism. He believes his labour of love, which measures 32 square meters, could well be the largest painting in the country — even the former Soviet Union — and is looking for experts to verify this.

AFP reported that the monumental work was commissioned by Maksut Narikbayev, a former politician and now president of the Kazakh Humanities and Law University.

The Turkish town of Kırşehir has jumped on the Nazarbayev bandwagon by naming a street after the man who has been running Kazakhstan since Soviet times. Kırşehir is more commonly associated with the Mevlevi school of Sufism and the mystical side of Islam but it’s now seen fit to call one of its streets after Kazakhstan’s former communist party head.

The governor of Kırşehir province, Ozdemir Kachadzhyk, called it a great honour to name a street after Nazarbayev and praised him with the following:

During his leadership the country has made great achievements, and has become a symbol of prosperity, peace and stability for many nations and states, including Turkey

In recent years President Nazarbayev has been featured in a film, a play, had a statue erected to him in an Almaty park, had a university and a network of schools opened using his name and appeared as the hero of a children’s fairy tale, leading many observers to believe a personality cult may be forming.

Take Cover – The Liquidator’s Here

7 Apr

The Liquidator is Here!

“The Liquidator,” Akan Satayev’s new film, opens today in Kazakhstan on the back of a huge publicity drive. With a barrage of posters to rival in numbers those of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s recent re-election campaign, the hype surrounding this Kazakh blockbuster has been hard to avoid.

This film tells the story of a bodyguard seeking to avenge the suspicious death of his brother. The film stars Kazakh actors Berik Aitzhanov and Aziz Beshenaliev along with British hard-man Vinnie Jones, who features in the movie as a mute hired killer.

Click here to see a trailer for “The Liquidator”

Only Vinnie was felt to bring the requisite level of menace to the venture with his track record of playing violent, sometimes deranged characters. He made his debut in 1998 in Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and has since cornered the market in these menacing roles.

Satayev’s first film “Racketeer” was a box-office smash in Kazakhstan in 2007. It told the story of a boxer making his way in the violent underbelly of Almaty in the chaotic 1990s. His next feature “Strayed” was in the running for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year and dealt with the mystery surrounding a family stranded on the steppe.

His next production “Myn Bala” will go back to the past to explore the struggle between the Kazkahs and their biggest foes the Zhungars in the 18th century. In the meantime you’ll have to make do with “The Liquidator”, a tale of gory 21st century vengeance.