Beloe Solntse Pustyni

White Sun of the Desert

White Sun of the Desert was to be the Soviet answer to the popular Western. Yet, while clearly drawing on Western cinematic tropes, the film undoubtedly spoke to Soviet audiences regarding issues of nation and empire, since it promulgates the nationalist ideals of a Russian-dominated Central Asia. Since the film’s release, however, screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov has vehemently denied such intentions. Indeed, looking closely at how director Vladimir Motyl visually constructs the film, it becomes clear that he emphasizes the incompatibility of Soviet and Central Asian cultures, plus the failure of the Soviet project in the East. This was an interesting cinematic stand to take at a time when the idea of the ‘brotherhood of nations’ was still very much alive in Soviet rhetoric. Ultimately we are led to consider the possibility that Russia’s presence in Central Asia not only endangers Russian purity, but also destroys an engaging, exotic, traditional Eastern culture. (Emily Hillhouse; Adapted from Directory of World Cinema: Russia, with the kind permission of Intellect Books)

Director's Biography
VLADIMIR MOTYL, 1927-2010, Weißrussland, Sohn polnischer Emigranten. Sein Vater wurde vom Staatssicherheitsdienst verhaftet und starb im Straflager. Der dreijährige Motyl und seine Mutter werden an den Ural verbannt. Charlie Chaplin-Filme haben ihn inspiriert.

Filme (Auswahl): Deti Pamira (Children of Pamir, 1963), Zvezda plenitelnogo schastya (The Captivating Star of Happiness, 1975), Les (The Forest, 1987), Rasstanemsya, poka khoroshiye (1991), Nesut menya koni (Gone with the Horses, 1996).
Special 2011
Vladimir Motyl
USSR 1969
85 minutes
OV with English subtitles
Screenplay Valentin Yezhov, Mark Zakharov, Rustam Ibragimbekov
Cinematography Eduard Rozovsky
Music Isaak Schwarz
With Raisa Kurkina, Anatoly Kuznetsov, Spartak Mishulin, Pavel Luspekaev, Kakhi Kavsadze, Tatiana Fedotova