Pros: script and director’s work by Nariman Aliyev; game by Akhtem Seytablaev; character development; strong finale Cons: a few weak episodes “Dodomu” / Evge / “Home”
Directed by Nariman Aliyev
Starring: Akhtem Seitablayev (Mustafa), Remzi Bilyalov (Alim), Daria Barikhashvili (Olesya), Viktor Zhdanov (auto mechanic), Anatoly Marempolsky (Nazim), Veronica Lukyanenko (Masha), Akmal Gurezov (Refat), etc.
Year of release 2019
The drama “Home” became the feature-length debut of the young Crimean Tatar director and screenwriter Nariman Aliyev. The first viewers of his film were visitors to the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was presented in the Un Certain Regard program. Now that Home has been released in Ukraine, it will be seen by people for whom the events of the film are not just an artistic background.
The film tells about a man named Mustafa (Akhtem Seytablaev), who is grieving the loss of a loved one. He comes to Kyiv to pick up the body of his eldest son, who died in the ATO. Mustafa wants to bury him according to Muslim traditions. The hero also takes his youngest son Alim (Remzi Bilyalov), who, after the annexation of Crimea, against the will of his father, wants to stay in the capital. Together they spend many hours on the road, where the difference in their perception of life and making plans for the future becomes a cause of conflict.
“Home” is a true road movie, in which the characters face sudden difficulties and feel the growing tension. On the road, the characters of father and son are revealed, for whom another quarrel could have ended much easier if they had not had to share the space of the car with each other. What’s even more difficult is that the body of the deceased is constantly next to the heroes, reminding them of the need to appreciate loved ones while they are alive.
The film shows the story of a Crimean Tatar family, which develops as a result of the political events of recent years. The director avoids banal slogans, while leaving no doubt about the correctness of his position. Nariman Aliyev talks about how an entire people turns out to be of no use to anyone except themselves. At some point, “Home” becomes a statement about the undying desire to be closer to the native land, which contains memories of previous generations.
The emotional component of the film was largely successful thanks to the successful choice of artists for the main roles. It was with them that the story really worked. But everything could have turned out the other way around, given that the central characters were played by a non-professional actor and an overly famous director.
The role of Mustafa was given to Akhtem Seytablaev, whom many know as an actor from the feature film “Haitarma” and director of the films “Alien Prayer”, “Cyborgs”, “Zakhar Berkut”. Seytablaev was invited to the project “Home” as a supporting actor, but he liked the script so much that Akhtem took part in the casting for the main role.
During the filming process, Akhtem Seytablaev managed to show a portrait of his father, who can be too categorical because of his beliefs, however, in his every action lies love for his son. Akhtem’s hero has courage and stamina, but even his steadfastness can give way to noticeable physical fatigue. Perhaps, without any exaggeration, we can say that Seytablaev’s work in “Home” is one of the best in his film career.
Another central character (the youngest son of Mustafa) was played by Remzi Bilyalov, the cousin of director Nariman Aliyev. They didn’t even conduct a casting for him; he was immediately assigned to the main role as a young man who speaks both the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian languages (in addition, he had already appeared in Aliyev’s short film). An incompletely delivered speech and the lack of self-admiration inherent in many actors gave Bilyalov the opportunity to play as realistically as possible. And, what was a pleasant surprise, was able to withstand the tension of the final scene.
Without a doubt, Home is a film with a lot of meaning. But, alas, there are several weak moments in it that spoil the overall picture. These are, for example, episodes with a minor character, the girl Masha (necessary for the impetus in the development of the overall plot), which are not associated with the overall impression of the drama. Without them, the film would have received top marks.
Even so, with obviously imperfect scenes, the film touches the heartstrings. It has high-quality camera work that sets the right accents. There is a strong story about growing up and coming to terms with family. There is a complete lack of musical accompaniment, emphasizing the seriousness of the statement. And, of course, there is a reminder of Crimea, which has always been home to the Crimean Tatars (in the meantime, the film crew had to recreate the events taking place there in the Kherson region).
Perhaps the drama “Home” is one of the few Ukrainian films that, despite its shortcomings, I would like to recommend to everyone. This is a very worthy debut of director Nariman Aliyev, and it will definitely be remembered by those who watch it. Especially the final scene of the film.
Ukrainian film with a strong story that everyone should watch