The Emir’s Secret Journey

[Тайное путешествие эмира]

USSR, Uzbekfil'm, 1986. 88 min. Color
In Russian
Director: Farid Davletshin
Screenplay: Boris Saakov
Camera: Iurii Liubshin
Design: Igor' Gulenko
Music: Feliks Ianov-Ianovskii
Sound: Erkin Kaiumov
With Gul'nara Abdurakhmadova, Ivan Agafonov, Galina Iatskina, Shukhrat Irgashev, Murad Radzhabov
Based on the modern Uzbek story "Netai" by Gufar Guliam

This social and historical drama, the director's first feature film, is from the standpoint of its aesthetic system firmly within the Soviet tradition. Its positive hero, Stepan Akimov, is a working-class Russian with a heart of gold and the determination to give the best possible care to the orphaned girl, Netai. He is frustrated in his intentions by the rapacious and utterly corrupt Karakozov, who is eager to sacrifice the innocent girl for the sake of his personal gain. Despite the intrigue and convoluted power relations, the narrative of this particular morality play is clear and moves inexorably to its tragic end.

The twilight of the Russian Empire is approaching as Emir Alimkhan, heir to the Throne of Bukhara, undertakes a secret journey to Saint Petersburg to secure the support of Emperor Nicholas II. His first attempt at the journey is interrupted by an armed attack: his journey had apparently not been so secret after all. The death of an innocent rural couple leads their young and now orphaned daughter, Netai, directly into the center of the developing conflict. As local Tashkent commercial and government leaders scheme to curry favor with the Emir during his second attempt at his journey, the fate of the beautiful and talented Netai is sealed as the Emir's taste in exotic young women presents the only opportunity to win him over. Netai is a helpless victim as the maelstrom swirls around her, but at the final, decisive moment, she finds herself with the opportunity to take matters into her own hands.

Director

It is remarkable that Farid Davletshin has remained a largely unknown director outside of his native Uzbekistan despite his considerable accomplishments in both film and television. He studied to be a theater director but worked in television after his graduation from the Tashkent Theater Arts Institute in 1974. In 1983 he graduated from VGIK in Moscow, where he studied under Marlen Khutsiev. Since his return to Uzbekistan he has worked at Uzbekfil'm Studios. For varied reasons, nearly every film that he has directed has had a difficult time getting screened both abroad and in his native country.

Filmography

1986 The Emir's Secret Journey
1989 Kiep's Last Journey
1992 Alif and Leila [Russ: Khitritsa iz skazok 1001 nochi]
1995 Return My Star
1997 Attention, Motor! [TV miniseries]
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