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  7. (OPEN AIR) Bismillah

(OPEN AIR) Bismillah

Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh, AzSSR 1927, 57 Min.

With live music by Ilkin Huseynov
Introduction by Leyli Gafarova, Salaam Cinema (Baku, Azerbaijan)

This anti-religious Soviet film revolves around a corrupt religious Mullah who cheats, drinks, and abuses women. As is common to many Soviet films of this period, this work of propaganda emphasizes how the arrival of the Bolshevik Revolution brings justice to peasants and liberates women. The struggle against ignorance and illiteracy, the revolution, and the rights of women were central themes in Azerbaijani Soviet films of the 1920s. However, Bismillah also reflects the colonizer’s perspective in its problematic portrayal of the local culture of the time and its depiction of Muslims as barbaric. Sharifzadeh, the first Azerbaijani filmmaker, made this film under the influence of the propaganda machine; tragically, he himself fell victim to the regime during the peak of the Great Purge. (Leyli Gafarova)

In bad weather the screening takes place indoors.

BISMILLAH, Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh