Cinema of Uzbekistan

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The history of Uzbek cinema can be divided into two periods: the cinema of Soviet Uzbekistan (1924–1991) and the cinema of independent Uzbekistan (1991–present). Films of the Soviet period were shot either in Russian or Uzbek. The most critically acclaimed films of the Soviet period include films such as Maftuningman (1958), Mahallada duv-duv gap (1960), and Shum bola (1977).[1]

A Cinematographic Department was created in 1920 in what was then the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and in 1924 the first film studios were created in Bukhara as a cooperative enterprise between the Sevzapkino studio in Russia and the Commissariat of Enlightenment of the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic. Bukhkino, as a Russo-Bukharan cinematographic society, was also founded in 1924 and produced the first feature film in present-day Uzbekistan, The Minaret of Death by Viacheslav Viskovskii (1925), an exotic-themed film that was successful throughout the Soviet Union and was even exported abroad. Later, Bukhkino merged into Uzbekgoskino (Uzbekfilm), which originally produced mostly Soviet anti-religious propaganda targeting Islam during the USSR anti-religious campaign (1928–1941).[2]

Two prominent directors in the Soviet era were Nabi Ganiev (1904–1952) and Suleiman Khodjaev (1892–1937). While Ganiev, the first Uzbek director whose movies starred a majority of Uzbek actors (in previous films, most actors were Russian), engaged in Stalinist propaganda through his movies, and survived the purges, Khodjaev became a victim of Stalin's repression. His movie Before Dawn (1933) was ostensibly a criticism of Tsarist Russia, but depicting it as a colonial power and the Uzbeks who opposed it as anti-colonial freedom fighters made the authorities suspiscious that Khodjaev was alluding to the Soviet Union. In 1937, The Oath by Aleksandr Ulos’stev-Garf was the first talking film produced in Uzebekistan. It also marked the end of an era as, during the Great Purge, very few new films were produced.[3]

There are many film studios in Uzbekistan. Uzbekfilm (Uzbek: O‘zbekfilm, Ўзбекфильм), established in 1925, is the largest and oldest film studio in Uzbekistan.[4]

Very few Uzbek movies that were made after Uzbekistan became independent have achieved international notability. According to movie critics, most of the modern Uzbek movies are cheap, low-quality movies.[5][6] Currently there are dozens of Uzbek film studies that on average make 50 films a year.[5] Film critics state that while the quantity of Uzbek films is going up, one cannot say the same about the quality of these films. Some have dubbed this trend the "Bollywoodization" of Uzbek cinema.[5]

Uzbekistani directors[edit]

Uzbekistani film actors and actresses[edit]

Highly acclaimed Uzbekistani actors and actresses include:

List of Uzbekistani films[edit]

The following are the most critically acclaimed Uzbek films:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cloé Drieu, Cinema, Nation, and Empire in Uzbekistan, 1919-1937, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2019.
  2. ^ Cloé Drieu, "Cinema, Local Power and the Central State: Agencies in Early Anti-Religious Propaganda in Uzbekistan," Die Welt des Islams 50 (2010), 532-563.
  3. ^ Drieu (2019).
  4. ^ A. M. Prokhorov, ed. (1974). "Uzbekfilm". Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian) (3rd ed.). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ a b c Saidazimova, Gulnoza (19 March 2013). "Uzbekistan: In All Movie Theaters". Fergananews (in Russian). Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  6. ^ Musayev, Rashid (26 December 2009). "Uzbek Cinema is Reviving". Central Asia Online (in Russian). Retrieved 18 April 2013.