The National Museum of Ukrainian Literature hosted the first screening of ‘Alim’, a Crimean Tatar movie, which premiered in 1926. The screening was organized by Kiev's Nikolay Bazhan Museum and Dovzhenko Center jointly with ‘El Cheber’ NGO and ‘Tamga’ Culture and Handcraft Center.
The audience were treated to a rare spectacle - a first Crimean Tatar feature movie ‘Alim’ shot at the Dovzhenko movie studio in the silent film era in 1926. Ukrainian writer Nikolai Bazhan wrote a screenplay for the movie, which was based on a play by Crimean Tatar playwright Umer Ipchi.
"Alim" gained wide acclaim following its premiere to a sold-out audience in Crimea in 1926. In 1927, the film was shown in Berlin and Paris.
However, ten years after its release, ‘Ukrainfilm’ authority banned 'Alim’ movie directed by George Tasin and had its copies destroyed. Nonetheless, the very fact that the movie was released can be considered unique since it was the first feature film by the Turkic peoples of the Soviet Union.
Shot in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, the film, like many other movies of the time, was part of the propaganda campaign directed against landowners and well-to-do famers. However, what makes it really important is the fact that it relates the story of Alima Azamat-oglu, a Crimean Tatar folk hero and, what is even more important, provides a glimpse into the Crimea of the late 19th century with its narrow city streets, clean and well-kept houses, cultivated vineyards and beautiful scenery – one that has virtually disappeared over the time.
The movie stars Hayri Emir-zade, the first Crimean Tatar actor to be awarded the Merited Artist of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic title. The actor’s life was quite a tragic one as he died in poverty and was buried at an unknown location in 1958.
The film is a screen version of a legend about Alim Azamat-oglu who is believed to be a kind of Crimean Tatar Robin Good. The man did live in Crimea in the late 19th centuryа and became a hero of a number of folk legends. Born in the village of Kopyurlikoy (Cheremisovka of the Belorosky district), Alim worked for a wealthy Karaite landowner named Solomon Babovich, who lived in the town of Karasubazar (Belogorsk). According to the legend, Alim fell in love with Rachel, the landowner’s daughter, which landed him in trouble with her father who had Alim put in prison. After being released from prison, Alim turned to robbery but he gave things he robbed to common people and protected them from landowners’ despotism.
A monument to Alim Azamat-ogly, a Crimean Tatar folk hero, now stands in the Belogorsky district of the modern day Crimea.
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