Dushanbe, Tajikistan, former USSR. In this city where old houses are destroyed and their occupants are evicted all around, Rimma and her granddaughter Katia are waiting for the scheduled demolition of their old house in order to be rehoused in one of the buildings that are springing up everywhere in the city. The preparations for the move disrupt their daily life. French-Tajik filmmaker Gulya Mirzoeva follows their intimacy and their journey towards a new life.

  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Persian, Russian
  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - GULYA MIRZOEVA

Gulya Mirzoeva was born in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a former republic of the former USSR became independent in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet empire. After studying literature and cinema in Moscow, she collaborated with various literary magazines and made her first documentaries for Tajikfilms Studios and Russian television. In 1992, she chose to settle in France where, in parallel with her writing and teaching activities, she made documentary films co-produced by France Télévisions and Arte.

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Director Statement

Director's Note

I was born and raised in the USSR, in Dushanbe, capital of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan.
In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet empire, Tajikistan, like all the republics of the USSR that formed the union, became independent. And following the sad custom of post-imperial countries, the new rulers of Tajikistan decided to rewrite his history.

To rewrite history they first had to erase the past.

Thus begins the destruction of Dushanbe: old buildings, old neighborhoods, monuments that recalled a bygone era. Everywhere machines crush, shatter, excavate. Each building that disappears is a mountain of memories erased. Recollections are pounded down by jackhammers before my eyes. Dushanbe seems to be undergoing its own metamorphosis as extravagant skyscrapers, countless palaces for the nation's leaders, monuments to the country's new heroes, spring from its belly... as if a new stratum of history were being superimposed on previous ones, physically and symbolically.

How do you tell the story of these changes, this upheaval? The pain of some, and the hope of others?

One day, during one of my stays in Dushanbe (where my mother still lives), I visited Rimma, an 86-year-old woman I had known for ages, and her pretty, 16-year-old granddaughter Katia. They told me that the two-storey building that housed their small apartment was scheduled for demolition and they would be relocated to one of the many new buildings springing up like mushrooms.
Rimma was unhappy and disturbed. This had been her home for 60 years! What would it be like? Could she settle in a new space? What would happen to the dear old tree that she and her husband planted in the yard?
Katia, meanwhile, told me that she was delighted at the idea of swapping the old apartment (where she shared a bedroom with her grandmother), for somewhere bright and spacious. Most importantly, she would finally be able to get rid of all the junk and clutter and start a new life.
I knew that this move would shake up their daily life and arouse many emotions. I had a great desire to tell this story, their story. The story of an old woman who embodies the past and a teenager who symbolizes the future.
Katia and Rimma gave me a huge gift – they trusted me, they opened their door to me, they allowed me to enter their intimacy and turn on my camera.

Gulya Mirzoeva, September 2021