Italo Spinelli (Italy) – NETPAC JURY
Dov (Fortune) by Muhiddin Muzzafar takes place in Tajikistan, one of the five Central Asian countries (the others are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan). The Tajiks, linguistically, are of Persian stock, whereas the other four are of Turkish stock. These five states have shared a common historical fate - from Arab Islamization to the rule of the Mongols and Turks, and in the 20th century they were republics of the Soviet Union. Muzzafar graduated in Film and Theatre Acting from the M. Tursunzade Institute in Dushanbe, took Theatre Direction courses in Tashkent, and landed at Moscow's historic State Film Institute, VGIK, where seats have been reserved for Central Asian filmmakers since the late 1920s.
Dov tells the story of two heroes from Muzaffar’s childhood - the story of a friendship between Kahhor (inspired by the figure of the director's grandfather) and his old friend Mannon. This friendship is tested when one of them receives as wages a lottery ticket that turns out to be lucky. The two friends who are from a country where everyone knows each other, are blue-collar workers. They are known for their musical talents, they play and sing together at weddings, and the director draws inspiration from authentic national traditions, specifically from folk epic music. Kahhor, in fact pins all his hopes on his second son, who studies vocal music in Moscow. Sending him money and listening to him sing on the phone is his joy in life.
The dramaturgy of the story, a kind of social comedy in the dramatic- historical framework, is set against the fall of the USSR in 1991 and the attainment of Tajikistan’s independence. However, this success coincided with the outbreak of civil war in '92-'93. The two protagonists - old friends who were victims of hard times owing to inflation and the subsequent food and bread shortage - decide to steal semi-finished metal pieces from their own factory at night and then sell them on the black market, even as they struggle against their own moral values.
The conflict between the two erupts when a lottery ticket that Mannon has given Kahhor turns out to be a winner (with a car as a prize). This breaks the solidarity between the two and leads to a quarrel between the two families until fraternity (following misunderstandings, fist fights and bitter disillusionments) is rebuilt in the face of Kahhor's death. In a way, the message of the film seems to be to remain human even in the face of hardship and conflict.
Fortune is the second feature film of the young director Muhiddin Muzzafar. His first feature, Narrow, was made in 2017. Fortune proves that he can control the means at his disposal well, from screenplay to cinematography, from sound to the exceptional acting by the two leads, Abdumumin Sharafi and Salohiddin Shukurzoda. Faced with a national film production that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, our friend Gulnara Abikeyeva, the great talented Kazakh film critic and researcher and former Artistic Director of the International Film Festival Eurasia states: “The magic of Tajik filming comes not just from films themselves, but through the obstacles they have to overcome.”
Original Title: Dov ( English Title: Fortune); 2022 Colour/117 minutes.
Country: Tajikistan Director/Producer Muhiddin Muzzafar Screenplay: Bahtiyor Karimov
Cinematographer: Abdukarim Uroqov
Editor: Dilovar Sultoni
The film had its World Premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2022 (Section: A Window on Asian Cinema).
Edited by Dr. Latika Padgaonkar