25 November - 2 December 2020

25 November – 2 December: available to watch online
Wednesday 25 November, 6.30pm: communal viewing
Wednesday 25 November, 8.30pm: live Q&A with the film’s Director, Aminatou Echard  (this event will be live captioned)

Directed by Aminatou Echard
2018, Kyrgyzstan
84 mins, Cert PG,
Kyrgyz; Russian; Uzbek and English
with English subtitles
SDH subtitles available

Shot in Kyrgyzstan on richly saturated Super-8mm, French filmmaker Aminatou Echard takes up the title character of Jamilia – the 1958 novel by Chinghiz Aytmatov – as a pretext through which to speak to Kyrgyz women of all generations about their own lives.

A modern classic in Kyrgyzstan and set during the Second World War, the novel Jamilia tells the story of a free-spirited heroine who falls in love with a wounded and solitary young man, Daniyar, while her husband is away on the front.

Over the course of her film, Echard introduces contemporary Kyrgyz women who she invites to talk about Jamilia as a literary heroine and indeed a cultural figure. They variously project themselves onto her, and in turn reveal their own private lives and desires, the social rules of contemporary Kyrgyzstan, and their ideas of freedom.

Their candid answers, recorded in audio interviews separated from the film’s grainy Super-8mm images, gives Echard’s Jamilia the confessional intimacy of home movies. Through the capture of these personal reflections, interpretations and associations the film speaks of the influence and interpretation of the novel across decades of the nation’s history and into the post-Soviet present.

‘Echard’s film juxtaposes the gorgeously composed visuals of day-to-day life with the powerful voices of the women of Kyrgyzstan. Connecting literature, reality, past, and the present, Echard’s film is a testament to the importance of women’s stories.’ —The Arts Fuse


Online Discussion with the director, Aminatou echard


Aminatou Echard (b. 1973) is a French filmmaker. She studied Ethnomusicology and Cinema History in Paris and Bologna. As an artist who works with experimental film and documentary, Aminatou’s focus is how space transforms people and how people inhabit spaces. She conveys this idea by exploring the relationship between sound and image. Fieldwork is a crucial element in her artistic practice. After four years of working in Bolivia in ethnomusicology, she started a new project in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan) in 2006 by collecting super 8 images and sounds to gain an understanding of the specific relationship between spaces and people.


Watch Glasgow Film Festival’s Q&A with Director Rúnar Rúnarsson

Read BFI’s review of the film by John Bleasdale

Watch Echo via MUBI Library (requires subscription) 

Against a clear, dusky sky, a large solitary farmhouse is engulfed in flames. A dark black smoke plumes upwards and leans left, blown by the wind. Dotted across the frozen hillside in the fore and middle ground are several onlookers. The nearest, a solitary man in a pale jacket, stands centre right with his back to us, taking a photo of the burning house on his smartphone.

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Our Autumn Screenings at Home programme is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI