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Screening of Alim (1926) with introduction by Olena Palko (Birkbeck) and Stefan Lacny (Cambridge)

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

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Screening of Alim (1926) with introduction by Olena Palko


A newly restored silent film from 1926 featuring an original music by the Crimean Tatar folk and jazz guitarist Enver Izmaylov.


Introduction: Dr Olena Palko (Birkbeck) and Stefan Lacny (Cambridge)


Alim (Georgi Tasin, Ukraine/USSR, 1926, 61mins) is an adventure film reminiscent of an American western. It is based on a Crimean Tatar legend, turned into a play by the repressed Crimean Tatar writer Ipchi Ümer and adapted for screen by a famous Soviet Ukrainian writer Mykola Bazhan. It tells a story of a nineteenth-century Crimean Tatar Robin Hood, Alim, fighting against rich people.


The shooting of the film began in the autumn of 1925 in line with the Soviet indigenisation (korenizatsiia) policy, which called for more cultural products with national plots. It was produced by the famous All-Ukrainian Photo Cinema Administration (VUFKU), widely known as ‘Ukrainian Hollywood’, a film studio which during 1922-1930 released over 140 films, among which are Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s Earth (1930).


The film gained popularity abroad and was presented in Berlin and Paris. Nonetheless, in 1937 the film was banned with all copies destroyed. The premier of the restored film took place in 2014 as a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars.


This screening is a rare opportunity to discover a little-known example of the Soviet Ukrainian cinematic avant-garde, previously unknown to the western audience.


Set in Crimea, which remains occupied by Russia since 2014, this film will draw attention to the plight of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian people amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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