Almaty 2007

  • Ron Holloway


4th EURASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ALMATY The Saga of Chingiz AitmatovWhen Chingiz Aitmatov went onstage in the spacious Palace of the Republic in Almaty (former Alma-Ata) at the closing gala of the Fourth Eurasia International Film Festival (23-29 September 2007) to receive an honorary award from the Kazakh government, he was greeted with a standing ovation. Indeed, the applause was well deserved. For the 78-year-old Kirghiz writer-diplomat is revered throughout Central Asia not only as a gifted storyteller, whose heart-rending novella Jamila (published in 1958) was praised by Louis Aragon as "the world's most beautiful love story," but also as the first Kirghiz Ambassador to Luxembourg and the European Union in Brussels. Moreover, during the high-water mark of the Khrushchev "thaw" (1956-65), when Chingiz Aitmatov was appointed head of the Kirghizfilm Studio in Frunze (today Bishkek), he fostered there a path-breaking "director's cinema" that helped to revolutionize Soviet...