Kino Světozor

Between Heaven and Earth

Between Heaven and Earth

(Tussen Hemel en Aarde) Director: M. Novikova - F. Van den Engel, NIZ, 2007, original version / Czech subtitles, 72 min

The circus has a long tradition in Uzbekistan and it has always been one of the main attractions on the legendary Silk Road from China to Europe. Even today, these nomadic circuses (which are often family enterprises) look like the circuses that existed in the time of Genghis Khan. This visually impressive film by the Dutch director Frank van den Engel tells the story of old friends Achat and Tursun Ali. Both learned the circus art from the same teacher in southern Uzbekistan and both established their own wandering circuses. Both of them also got involved in politics and were active members of a party that was subsequently banned. Nevertheless, recent events in Uzbekistan, which is ruled by the iron fist of the dictator Islam Karimov, mean that the paths they took in life have diverged. The magical atmosphere of traditional circuses, tightrope walkers and acrobats is intermeshed with the understated but omnipresent fear of repression. Achat, who has spent several years behind bars for his anti–regime activities, continues to fight for the rights of those who are unjustly persecuted. His friend, Tursun, however, is only interested in his circus.


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