Kyrgyz Cinema Days Open in Astana with Dazzling Mother-Son Pilgrimage Story

ASTANA – Days of Kyrgyz cinema opened on April 3 in Astana with “Beyish – Enenin Tamaninda” (Paradise – Under the Mother’s Feet), a heartfelt road movie that explores tender mother-son relationship on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

Days of Kyrgyz cinema in Astana opened with “Paradise – Under the Mother’s Feet.” Photo credit: Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Information

The latest offering by director Ruslan Akun tells the story of Adil, a 35-year-old man with cognitive challenges, who has been raised on his mother’s stories that he holds a special place in God’s heart, ensuring his direct path to paradise. But Adil does not want to enter paradise without his mom. Upon discovering that he can secure his mother’s place in paradise by walking with her to Mecca, Adil embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to fulfill his religious obligation with a mother barely of walking age.

Given that today, one could travel to Mecca on planes in a matter of hours, Adil’s journey turned into a hard-to-believe pilgrimage starting in the Kyrgyz Republic and passing through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Syria before reaching the holy city in Saudi Arabia.

The spiritual pull of the Hajj helps the mother and son overcome the arduous nature of the journey filled with emotional and narrative surprises along the way. Photo credit:

If the story of the film has demonstrated anything, it is the spirit of unity and brotherhood of all the nations along the way of the pilgrimage. Adil and his mother encounter people from completely different walks of life who show an unparalleled capacity for hospitality and kindness. The relations between Central Asian people, who communicate effortlessly without translation, are filled with warmth and affection.

The film provides tangible evidence of the diversity of the Central Asian and Turkic cultures and scenery while reinforcing solidarity and a broader cultural dialogue.

This is not to say that the pilgrimage was easy and comfortable, but for Adil, it was a journey worth making. The spiritual pull of the Hajj helps the mother and son overcome the arduous nature of the journey, which is filled with emotional and narrative surprises along the way.

“Beyish” secured the top spot in box office earnings in Kazakhstan, grossing over $1 million in four days on March 21-24, surpassing numerous foreign productions.

“I would like to note that part of the foreign filming took place across the vast territory of friendly Kazakhstan, thus continuing the glorious tradition of creating joint cultural and cinematic works,” said Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to Kazakhstan Dastan Dyushekeev during the opening of the Kyrgyz cinema days in Kazakhstan.

“In addition, the film was almost simultaneously released in cinemas across Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, which indicates the coherence of cooperation between the film producers of Kyrgyzstan and distributors of Kazakhstan,” he added.

Dyushekeev also announced the forthcoming official visit of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov to Kazakhstan on April 18-19.

“The visit will include various events, including the unveiling of a monument to the hero of the world’s largest epic ‘Manas’ in Astana,” he said.

“The best sons of the Kazakh nation have made a significant contribution to the preservation and multiplication of the ‘Manas’ epic. One of them is Shokan Ualikhanov. He was the first to start assembling the oral tale into a written form. The second, Mukhtar Auezov, promoted the academic study of the epic in the early Soviet era, and later began to publish its collections,” added Dyushekeev.

Kyrgyz cinema days in Astana will continue on April 4 with the “Tenirberdi” (Child of Heavens) comedy, which reveals the theme of ethical values in a light, comedic genre.

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