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CANNES 2002 Regard

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Tagikistan is alone


- Pan-European co-production behind The Angel on the Right Shoulder by Tagiki director, Djamshed Usmonov. The lone voice of a film industry that no longer exists

Tagikistan´s The Angel on the Right Shoulder was co-produced by Italy´s Fabrica and Raicinema, Switzerland´s Ventura Films, France´s Artcam International, a number of foundations plus substantial public money. The film selected for Un Certain Regard is an example of a film that unites style with content made by a «geographically challenged» but particularly rich and communicative film industry, thanks to pan-European support. The soul of this film is Marco Müller, the genius behind international hits like Tanovic´s No Man´s Land and Samira Makhmalbaf´s Blackboards.
Djamshed Usmonov, 37, tells us that his country´s film industry was wiped out. There is hardly a cinema in Tagikistan and most of his fellow directors emigrated after the fall of the former Soviet Union and the subsequent civil war that tore Tagikistan to bits until it finally ended in 1998. And while this was happening, neighbouring Afghanistan, also troubled by armed conflict, stood silent. Meanwhile in the little village of Asht, this moral tale was gradually taking form. It is the story of a man who cares little for familial love and affection, who discovers that he has a son. It is also the story of his old mother who welcomes her own death because she knows that will save her son. The evocative title is taken from an Islamic legend according to which each of us has an angel at each shoulder. The angel on the right records our good deeds while the one on our left writes down our misdeeds. The balance between the two is taken on the Day of Judgement.

(Translated from Italian)

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