Central Asian movie critic to screen and discuss Kyrgyzstan film

Gulnara Abikeyeva, a Kazakh film critic and Fulbright Scholar, will introduce the award-winning movie Beshkempir (Adopted Son) by director Aktan Abdykalykov at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Room G52 (the Keck Classroom) of Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road. The public is invited to attend the 82-minute screening, followed by a discussion led by Abikeyeva, free of charge. Refreshments will be served.Winner of the Silver Leopard Award at Italy’s prestigious 1998 Locarno International Film Festival  and shown at more than 30 film festivals internationally, Beshkempir tells the story of an adopted boy living in an isolated village in Kyrgyzstan as he makes the transition into adulthood.

The film’s location makes it exotic, says Abikeyeva, “but at the same time it will be the journey of your own childhood. That is why the film will be very close to your own heart.”

The production is the first post-Soviet feature film produced in Kyrgyzstan, one of the smallest nations in Central Asia, and bordered by China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The size of Minnesota and dominated by towering mountains, some as tall as 24,000 feet, the country has a population of 4.5 million people, most of whom are Sunni Muslims.

The author of two books, The New Kazakh Cinema (1998) and Central Asian Cinema: 1990-2001 (2001), Abikeyeva has published more than 100 newspaper and magazine articles about film. She received a doctorate from the All-Union Institute of Cinema in Moscow where she wrote a dissertation on The Interaction of Cultures of the East and the West in Modern Cinema Process.

Abikeyeva has directed arts and culture programs in Kazakhstan for The Soros Foundation since 1997. Between 1992 and 1994, she was editor-in-chief of the critically acclaimed film magazine Asia-kino. Since 1995, she has taught film at the Kazakh Academy of Arts.

During her Fulbright visit, Abikeyeva is based at Bowdoin College. The Bates event is co-sponsored by the German, Russian and East Asian languages departments and the Office of the Dean of Faculty.

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