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This mesmerizing film, shot in Kyrgyzstan on richly saturated Super-8 footage, is a search for Jamilia, the title character in that country's famous novel by Chinghiz Aitmatov, about a young woman who rebels against the strict rules of her society.

Over the course of its haunting narrative, director Aminatou Echard introduces contemporary Kyrgyz women who, in talking about this literary heroine, reveal their own private lives and desires, the social rules they chafe under and their ideas of freedom.

Jamilia portrays Kyrgyzstan through the prism of these women's stories. They describe what their lives are like in a country where the patriarchal system may see them kidnapped by would-be suitors, and curbs their freedom to work, desire, love, live and dream.

Jamilia lets the women speak for themselves—about resistance and the freedom they find in unexpected places, despite the restraints and limitations imposed upon them. With dreamy pacing and a shifting relationship to time, the film gives viewers access to its subjects' desire for adventure, rebellion, independence and sensuality.

"Echard's Super-8 film features long-lasting beautiful portraits of women of various ages whose voices tell us: Since Jamilia, Kyrgyz women no longer feel powerless." Lara Ladik, Perlentaucher

" intimate yet ambitious documentary survey of Kyrgyz women about their opinions of a national literary heroine, the eponymous Jamilia."  —Daniel Kasman,


Main credits

Echard, Aminatou (film director)
Echard, Aminatou (cinematographer)
Rebouillon, Laurence (film producer)

Other credits

Images et sons, Aminatou Echard.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Women's Studies
Women's History
Human Rights


; "Jamilia"; Icarus Films; Kyrgyzstan; Literature; Women's Studies; "Jamilia"; Icarus Films; Tchinguiz Aitmatov,doc,art; history; sociss

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