Dir: Husseyn Mekhtiev
85 min., 35mm, 1:1.37, Color, WP
Produktion: Aserkinovideo Company. Buch: Ramiz Rovshan, Husseyn Mekhtiev. Kamera: Amin Novruzov, Nadir Mekhtiev. Ton: Natasha Nurieva. Musik: Azer Dadashev. Ausstattung: Mais Agabekov. Schnitt: Guishan Salimova. Produzent: Ogtay Mirkasimov.
Darsteller: Ayan Mirkasimova, Aladdin Abbasov.
Uraufführung: 27. September 1996, Baku.
Weltvertrieb: Aserbaidshan-Film, Bul Bul Avenue 20, 370014 Baku, Aserbaidshan. Tel.: (994-12) 933164. Fax: (994-12) 939296.
Sat 22.02. 13:15 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Sun 23.02. 13:30 Delphi Sun 23.02. 22:30 Arsenal Mon 24.02. 19:30 Akademie der Künste
Her paralyzed father, who lives in a wheelchair and who periodically loses his mind, has only one passion - feeding the pigeons. Or rather, he tortures them. The more eagerly the pigeons fight for their food, the happier the father becomes. He alone determines the time of feeding and lets the pigeons starve for days. His daughter is not allowed to feed the pigeons. Sometimes he becomes aware of the suffering he causes his daughter. Once, he tries to commit suicide. Dr Rsajev understands that he condemns the daughter to death if he rescues the father. He therefore keeps demanding that the old man be moved into a senior citizens' home. The daughter rejects this idea and categorically refuses to discuss the issue. Lejla's neighbour watches the father-daughter relationship cynically, he is not a disinterested observer. He waits for his victim like a predator.
Quite unconsciously Lejla changes her life style. She moves out of her own time into ,father time', losing her own spatial and temporal reality. Lejla has sacrificed her life for her father, but she cannot, however, remain disinterested in the sad fate of the hungry birds.
At one point, she can no longer stand the sadistic torture of the birds and decides to betray the father. In her mind this is a betrayal of her own moral principles and she goes to bed with the pushy neighbour.
The pigeons can no longer stand the father's torture. They attack him from all sides, pecking his neck and hands. The father dies trying to fight back, fighting for air. But he doesn't open his hand containing the food...
The original, natural character of people remains constant, but consciousness changes in relation to society, the surroundings. In turn, consciousness shapes esthetic norms. It often happens that the consciousness of a human being, his moral criteria are in direct opposition to his real being. This leads to disturbance of harmony and tragedy.
A harmonious society is formed primarily by the compatibility of moral criteria and the natural inner life of human beings.
Husseyn Mekhtiev: Our minds are not a hermetically sealed units. We are influenced by society, by our environment. Our nature, on the other hand, is stable. The gap between mind and nature often leads to tragedy. A person who is enslaved by his own morals, ignoring his natural needs, will live in continual disharmony with himself. He is not a free man. He is totally dependent on society's morality, on other people's expectations, which have a negative effect on his behaviour, his deeds, his personal relationships. In our film the protagonist gives up her private life for her sick father: work, love, friends, relatives, even her life. She doesn't live on her own but on his terms. It takes her a long time until she understands that her destruction will be inevitable if she doesn't liberate herself from ,his time', his morality.
Question: There are a number of philosophical-metaphorical episodes in the script which have to do with the transformation of spatial-temporal borderlines. It must be difficult to create this without first class technical equipment.
H.M.: This is not quite the case. The production of episodes was dependent on the protagonist's emotional state as well as the resulting levels of references. In this way we created the necessary atmosphere and mood.
Question: Ajan Mir-Kassimowa, an actress in the Russian theatre, played the main role. Was this your first encounter with her?
H.M.: No. I met her when she was six years old, during the filming of You can't take the island along. I was the cameraman. Even then I was impressed by her complete control in front of the camera. The girl acted beautifully.
Question: And now?
H.M.: I am very satisfied with her work.
Question: It is mid-March now. The film is finished. Are you planning to start a new project this year?
H.M.: No. The budget was cut. We had just enough to finish film projects begun in 1995. It means that we cannot make a new film in 1996. All film production has been cut, not only feature films. Every single initiative during the last three years to rebuild film production will have been for nothing.
Question: Does this mean that most directors will be out of work until the next calendar year?
H.M.: Yes, and camera people, designers, actors and carefully educated technical staff, real quality professionals. Their situation is tragic.
Husseyn Mekhtiev was born in Scheki, Azerbaijan in 1945. From 1972 to 1977 he studied at the Moscow film school WGIK. After working as a cameraman for six years, he made his first film The fairytale about the old oak tree.
1984: Skaska starogo duba (The Fairytale of the Old Oak). 1985: Gorodskije kosari. 1988: Bolj Molotschnogo suba (Teeths in Trouble). 1990: Swidetelniza (The witness). 1996: ÖSGE VACHT (Strange Times).
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.