Original title: Игла, Igla
Director: Rashid Nugmanov
Runtime: 80 min
Country: USSR, Kazakhstan
Language: Russian with English subtitles
Rating: M18 (Drug Use)
In 1985, to redress an era of stagnation, the Soviet Union embarked on perestroika, a period of rapid political reformation and openness, that led to its collapse in 1991. In 1986, the Zheltoksan movement saw thousands of students in Kazakhstan clash with the Soviet military in a radical act of self-determinism and dissent against the centre.
Emerging from this period, Rashid Nugmanov was part of a group of young directors, collectively known as the ‘Wild Kazazh Boys’ or ‘the Kazakh New Wave’. His debut feature, The Needle, stars the late counterculture hero and rockstar Victor Tsoi as an stoic drifter in Alma-Ata, as he crosses paths with his morphine-addicted ex-lover and the drug mafia. Freewheeling, experimental and romantic, paying homage to the aesthetics of the French New Wave, the film is emblematic of a creative movement that weaponised its new-found freedom of expression to disrupt the Soviet cinematic landscape, and forge new cultural identities.
Coming of Rage: Asian Youth & Politics on Screen runs from 2 – 25 June 2023. See the full programme here.
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