Birthday is a story about three patients staying in an abandoned mental hospital ruined by a civil war, among bits of the past.

The young patient is trying to convince the old one to make friends with the third one, while the two have been in a supposedly long conflict over ideological issues.
It's the third patient's birthday, and the young one is trying to arrange a celebration and to finally reconcile his mates.
The starving patients searching for food for the festive dinner make most of the film's tragicomic plot. The film’s opening scene shows the young man failing to catch a rat!
They have long and fruitless argument on who is to blame for the war.
Here comes the film's main message: everyone is guilty when nobody is.
The young patient leaves the room to invite the third one to ‘cut his birthday cake’ and celebrate. Actually, there is no real cake, just an empty plate, but the characters’ mental conditions make them believe there is one, and very tasty!
The young patient enters the third one’s room and sees he's already died. He returns to their “dining” room and sees the second one has died too - after all, they have been starving long.
Here we understand the young man’s plan: he planned for the three of them to die after a peaceful celebration, to die as friends overcoming their ideological differences. In his illusive world, he thinks he has “poisoned” the “birthday cake” he has cooked. He is sure
the second patient has died because he has “eaten the poisoned cake” while the true reason of his death must be natural.
Now alone, the young man decides to join his friends. He sits down, “cuts off a slice of the poisoned cake” and “eats” it. Then he blows off the only candle and waits in the dark. Cannons start far away. He is still alive when we leave him.
In the closing scene, a rat (may be the very same one) crosses the frame as we see the hospital garden with a run-down statue and cannonade far away.

  • Anar Azimov
  • Anar Azimov
  • Sergey Polyakov
    Key Cast
  • Sergey Ponomarenko
    Key Cast
  • Oleksandr Nykonovych
    Director of Photography
  • Vlad Donchenko
    Sound Designer
  • Roman Bolgarov
  • Anar Azimov
  • 9pro video (Yuri Sergienko and Bohdan Lyudvik)
    Service production
  • Siran Muidinov
  • Ivan Poborodnyuk
  • Yana Gatsenko
    Makeup Artist
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 20, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    10,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Rome Independent Prisma Awards
    July 21, 2018
    World Premiere
    Best Director
Director Biography - Anar Azimov

Born in 1969. PhD in Philosophy (1995). British Council Playwright Course graduate (1999). Alexander Sokurov’s Film Directing online course graduate (2021).

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Director Statement

The film's photography is the main channel of the story. Extremely long shots of the camera travelling in and out represent someone constantly watching - maybe the audience, or maybe the third patient, who doesn't appear in the film.
I’ve written those shots in details as early as the script development; we had been searching for a relevant location where those shots were possible before found one.
However, some shots were modified at the place.
For example, in my script, camera is waiting for the two characters coming down the corridor and lets them pass by. The real corridor was long enough, and our DOP suggested starting farther and move towards the two men.
I planned flyover shooting the breakfast somewhat jerkier, documentary-style, with a handheld camera, but our steadicam operator suggested a single-motion shooting, which fits the camera specifics much better.
Slow approaching towards the broken TV was initially the steadicamer’s trial to adjust the camera settings. This gave me the idea this slow beautiful camera movement could be actually part of the film.