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Naguima – Review


Release Date: 6th November 2014
Director: Zhanna Issabayeva
Writer: Zhanna Issabayeva
Cast: Dina Tukubaeva - Galina Pianova - Maria Nezhentseva



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Posted December 1, 2014 by

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Naguima Review:

It seems like this year has become a revival for Kazakhstan cinematography. To an increasing extend, European audience has possibility to contemplate central Asian cinema. “Naguima” is the third long feature that has been released to French movie theaters this year.

The story is about two young orphanage graduates, living in slums of Almaty. Naguima (Dina Tukubaeva) works in eating house barely earning to pay the rent. After being left by her beloved, eight month pregnant Anya (Maria Nezhentseva) is waiting Naguima’s return from work. Motionless Anya has some food for thoughts; she questions herself what is wrong with them and why do they have to suffer unlike the others. In this universe of solitude, they have only each other to fill up the gap in family love. One crucial day Anya finally gets to the hospital and following difficult confinement, dies. She gives a birth to another orphan. After being rejected second time by her mother and finding herself abandoned by the whole world, Naguima decides to break this vicious circle and takes the actions.

Through transcendent beauty of cinematic photography, Issabayeva portrays solid friendship, self-sacrifice and overwhelming loneliness. Stylistically she creates new form of Social naturalism, post-soviet art-house. Despite director’s statement that mise en scene appeared naturally, it feels that gaping for creating so-called “festival movie”, she made every shot lifeless. Drama mood is lined up forcedly and artificially.

Issabayeva uses an interesting technique in storytelling, it is purposefully told without an emotional engagement of the actors. However, combination of underacting amateurs and overacting stage actors created disbalance in emotional coloration of the movie.

Low-budget “Naguima” is still far from steep festival demands, but as compensation, it brings pure aesthetic pleasure to spectator. It is also an excellent possibility to broaden cinematographic map and to get deeper into Kazakh vision.


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Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 02.42.45

Aleksandra Zakharchenko
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