5-7 October 2019

22nd Asian Project Market

2001 Project

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PROJECT Living Fish (35mm / Color / 90mm / Tajikistan) NO 20
WRITER Bakthier Khoudoinazarov, Oleg Antonow
Bakhtiar Khoudoinazarov was born in Russia, 1965. He worked as a correspondent for the Radio and Television State Committee and graduated in 1989 in film directing from the Moscow Film Academy VGIK. After that, he began teaching at the VGIK Actor`s Department and became a member of the GUS Filmmaker`s Association in 1992. He directed three shorts before finishing his feature, Bratan , in 1991, which was awarded with numerous prizes. His second film, Kosh Ba Kosh , received a Silver Lion at the Venice Int`l Film Festival and was nominated for the European Film prize in 1993. Luna Papa , his third and last feature had its world premieres at the 1999 Venice Int`l Film Festival. The International Film Festival Rotterdam has screened all Khoudoinazarov`s feature films.
Gagar is a young and handsome man from Akhtaman, one of the most beautiful towns on earth. He is a pilot, running a carrier job for Ashik Kerib, the most respected man on the coast. His cargo is a rubber cistern filled with water and gigantic pearl sturgeon. This kind of fish only lives in the waters of Akhtaman.

Suddenly, Gagar`s plane experiences trouble. In order to avoid going down, he drops his cargo. Sending the wiggling fish tumbling toward the sea, their scales glittering. Among these fish is a girl, Mary, who was hiding in the container, also falling to the splash of the sea. Seeing this, Gagar goes to her rescue. Mary tells him that she came to the area to study a rare species of butterfly, until she was kidnapped by Ashik Kerib. He wanted to take her as his bride, so she escaped with the help of his daughter, Jasmin. Jasmin was the one who put her in the fish cargo.

After some time, Mary and Gagar fall in love, so Gagar is shocked when Mary tells him the truth about why she really came to Akhtaman. Apparently, she specializes in smuggling rare birds and animals and has come to this area to steal the egg of the sacred Shakh bird. The legend of this egg, which punishment for touching is death, is that if touched, the town of Akhtaman will disappear. Gagar, torn between his love for Mary and his faithfulness to his town`s tradition, chooses to protect his town and reluctantly puts Mary on a smuggler`s vessel toward Istanbul. However, Mary finds a chance to escape and swims back to Akhtaman.

Mary goes straight to the house of Kerib and offers to marry him in exchange for the sacred Shakh egg. The day before the wedding, Mary goes to Gagar to tell him the whole truth: that the egg, worth a lot of money, is needed to pay for the hospital bills of Adel, Mary`s younger sister. Mary asks Gagar to transport the egg to Hamburg as she is prohibited from going home. Shaken by this news, Gagar is faced with the decision of choosing one human life over a whole city. He opts for the girl whom he`s never even seen.

Many unexpected events await Gagar and Mary on their way towards the hospital: the sudden death of Kerib, their escape from Akhtaman, the flight over a huge sea in a tiny plane, Mary`s arrest and Gagar`s adventures as he travels through Europe with the egg. Finally, he manages to deliver the egg, relieving the suffering girl. Meanwhile, the town of Akhtaman is hit by a terrible flood and is destroyed.

On his return to his homeland, Gagar decides to share the destiny of his town and thrusts himself into the sea from a high cliff. Falling, Gagar sees the frightening picture of a huge valley, lit by hundreds of bonfires with his townspeople sitting in front of them. He wonders if they are his neighbors or the spirits of the ancestors to whom Gagar is headed.

At the same time, Mary and her cured sister are sailing along the flooded Akhtaman on a big cruise liner. The guide is telling them a new legend about the smuggler called Gagar who saved the life of a girl he never met at the price of his own life. Mary looks at the far away shore, which is glowing in the evening mist. Her eyes are full of tears. However sad this may be, if a legend gives birth to another legend, then life goes on.
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