Kazakhstan Submits “Return to “A” for the Oscar Movie Award

Oct 18. MFA

Kazakhstan Submits “Return to “A” for the Oscar Movie AwardThe Committee of American Oscar movie award has announced the list of sixty-three films, submitted in the category “Best Foreign Language Film”. This time Kazakhstan is represented by “Return to “A”, a movie directed by Yegor Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky.

Over the recent years, Kazakhstan has seen a revival of the national cinematography bearing fruits internationally. This is seen not only in frequent visits of famous guests from abroad and various film festivals held in Astana and Almaty, but also in a plethora of movies produced by Kazakhstan’s directors and on the Kazakh land.

For Kazakhstan, “Return to “A” is a debut in two senses. Firstly, it is the first local movie made in a 3D format, and, secondly, it is the country’s first feature-length film about the Soviet intervention into Afghanistan. The movie was filmed by the Kazakhfilm Studio together with the Baiterek National Production Centre.

“Return to “A” is about the life of Marat Ayumov, a former soldier from Kazakhstan who fought in Afghaninstan. The past and present are interwoven in the memories of the protagonist. Throughout the film, in fragmented flashbacks, the hero recollects the time when he, as a soldier, fought in the armed conflict in the mountainous country as he travels to Afghanistan to accompany a young and creative TV crew making a documentary called “Following Alexander the Great”.

The heroes of “Return to “A” have their real prototypes. The image of the main character, Marat Ayumov, was sketched by screenwriters from Colonel Zhumabek Ayubayev who was honored three times by the Red Star Order. Ayubayev was sent to Afghanistan as part of a GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) group under the command of the famous “Kara-Mayor” (the Black Major). It was reported that Afghan guerilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud promised a million dollars for the capture of the elusive Soviet Major. The real name of “Kara Major” was Boris Kerimbayev.

Acting as a military adviser during filming, Boris Kelimbayev in his interview said the movie was “an attempt to show how the hero selflessly and courageously performed his international duty.” “Both alive and deceased heroes of the Afghan war are going through the attrition mill of the iniquitous war”.

The mysterious title of the movie “Return to “A” was not selected at random either. The final decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR to send troops to Afghanistan in 1979 was formalized in a secret decree with an unobvious title “To the “A” position”. The main character of the movie, the participant of that war, returns to the “A” position, or Afghanistan, in order to find his friend’s grave.

“Return to “A” touches on significantly deeper themes. Yegor Konchalovsky walks us from colorful scenes to love worries, sorrows of conscience, and philosophical contemplation of everything happening.

Konchalovsky was serious about the filming process: the budget of the movie reached 4 mln. dollars. One of the film scenarists, Vladimir Moiseyenko, is a Russian scenarist who is famous for his well-known works in movies such as “Vozvrashenie” (“The Return”) of Andrei Zvyagintcev, Eldar Ryazanov’s “Starie Klyachi” (Old Jades), Nikita Mikhalkov’s film “12”, and Ivan Dihovichniy’s “Vdokh,Vydokh” (Breathe In, Breathe Out).

The cast of “Return to A” includes famous Kazakh and Russian actors such as Denis Nikiforov, Ivan Zhidkov, Seydulla Moldakhanov, Gosha Kutsenko, Farkhat Abdraimov, Karlygash Muhamedzhanova, and Natalia Arinbasarova.

The short list of the five Oscar nominees for the best foreign language movie will be announced on January 23 next year.