Winner for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, Sergey Dvortsevoy’s second dramatic feature follows an undocumented Kyrgyz immigrant in Russia struggling to make ends meet and yearning to find the child she abandoned.
Award-winning actress Samal Yeslyamova (Tulpan) plays the role of Ayka, a Kyrgyz illegal migrant in Moscow. Ayka has no money, no home, and she just gave birth. She is never still, so we follow her through wintry Moscow streets on her reckless pursuit to find work. An aggressive soundtrack and visceral cinematography emphasize the vision of a huge megalopolis where anyone can get lost or disappear. It is Yeslyamova, however, who steals the camera; always moving forward in her unraveling as she enters her curtained den until the end, when she and the camera give us a chance to breathe. In 2010, 248 newborns were abandoned in Moscow's maternity wards, a statistic information director Sergey Dvortsevoy found in the newspapers and adapted for his film. He likes to make films from "real" life and values surprises and doubt, interested in what happens when families and relationships break down between people and their environment to the point when an individual is morally damaged. His film comes at a time of worldwide chaotic migration, and it is obvious that what happened to Ayka is happening to others.
— Maryna Ajaja
Sergey Vladimirovich Dvortsevoy was born in 1962 in Kazakhstan. He studied aeronautics and worked as an aviation engineer before studying film directing and scriptwriting in Moscow. Since then he has worked as a freelance director and has won more than 50 international film prizes. His 2008 feature film Tulpan was Kazakhstan's Oscar® submission in the 2009 Foreign Language Film category.
Sponsored by Pacific Place, The Seattle Times
- Director: Sergey Dvortsevoy
- Principal Cast: Samal Yeslyamova, Zhipargul Abdilaeva, Sergey Mazur, Slava Agashkin
- Country: Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Germany, Poland, China
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 100 minutes
- Producer: Sergey Dvortsevoy, Thanassis Karathanos, Martin Hampel, Anna Wydra
- Screenplay: Sergey Dvortsevoy, Gennady Ostrowski
- Cinematographers: Jolanta Dylewska
- Editors: Sergey Dvortsevoy, Petar Markovic
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Cannes Film Festival 2018 (Best Actress), Golden Orange Award 2018 (Best Actress), Tokyo Filmex 2018 (Grand Prix); Asian Film Award 2019 (Best Actress), Official Oscar Submission 2019 (Foreign Language Film)
- Filmography: Tulpan (2008); In the Dark (Doc., 2004); Highway (Doc., 1999); Bread Day (Doc., 1998); Paradise (Doc., 1995)
- Language: Kyrgyz, Russian
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- International Sales: The Match Factory