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CANNES 2006 Un Certain Regard / France

Doctor Usmonov cures impotency

by 

Will Kamal succeed in overcoming his fears to return home and finally consummate his marriage with his wife? This is, seemingly, the subject of To Get to Heaven You First Have to Die [+see also:
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, the new film by Tajik director Djamshed Usmonov, a European co-production screened this afternoon in Un Certain Regard. However, behind the entertaining initiatory journey to the city of this handsome but tactless charmer (Khurched Golibekov, the director’s nephew) – who spends his time looking at women and, at his cousin’s urging, going to bed with prostitutes, in vain – hides a second film that begins after Kamal’s unfortunate encounter with a dangerous criminal.

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Convinced that Kamal slept with his wife (played perfectly by Dinara Droukarova), the criminal involves him in a series of burglaries of luxurious manors. However, the young man’s overall passivity is brought to an end after his companion commits murder and rape. After killing him, Kamal also loses his virginity and, mission accomplished, leaves to rejoin his wife. From intimate journey to a double thriller with a strange moral, the film was diversely received by audiences despite its overall visual style and impeccable narrative.

Produced by French outfits Elzévir and Ciné Manufacture, To Get to Heaven You First Have to Die was made on a €1.5m budget, including co-production funding from Germany (Pandora), Switzerland (Saga Production) and TSR, Arte France Cinéma and Russia (South Bridge). The film also received funding from the CNC (€120,000), le Filmstiftung NRW, the Filmförderungsanstalt and the Swiss federal Office of Culture.

Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales on Usmonov’s film, which will be distributed in France by Rezo Films.

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(Translated from French)

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