The history of Uzbek cinema can be divided into two periods: the cinema of Soviet Uzbekistan (1924–1991) and the cinema of independent Uzbekistan (1991–present).


A Cinematographic Department was created in 1920 in what was then the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and in 1924 the first film studios were created in Bukhara as a cooperative enterprise between the Sevzapkino studio in Russia and the Commissariat of Enlightenment of the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic. Bukhkino, as a Russo-Bukharan cinematographic society, was also founded in 1924 and produced the first feature film in present-day Uzbekistan, The Minaret of Death by Viacheslav Viskovskii (1925), an exotic-themed film that was successful throughout the Soviet Union and was even exported abroad. Later, Bukhkino merged into Uzbekgoskino (Uzbekfilm) in Tashkent, which originally produced mostly Soviet anti-religious propaganda targeting Islam during the USSR anti-religious campaign (1928–1941).[1]

Films of the Soviet period were shot either in Russian or Uzbek. The most critically acclaimed films of the Soviet period include films such as Maftuningman (1958), Mahallada duv-duv gap (1960), and Shum bola (1977).[2]

Two prominent directors in the Soviet era were Nabi Ganiev (1904–1952) and Suleiman Khodjaev (1892–1937). While Ganiev, the first Uzbek director whose movies starred a majority of Uzbek actors (in previous films, most actors were Russian), engaged in Stalinist propaganda through his movies, and survived the purges, Khodjaev became a victim of Stalin's repression. His movie Before Dawn (1933) was ostensibly a criticism of Tsarist Russia, but depicting it as a colonial power, and the Uzbeks who opposed it as anti-colonial freedom fighters, made the authorities suspicious that Khodjaev was alluding to the Soviet Union. In 1937, The Oath by Aleksandr Ulos’stev-Garf was the first talking film produced in Uzebekistan. It also marked the end of an era as, during the Great Purge, very few new films were produced.[3]

Uzbekfilm (Uzbek: O‘zbekfilm, Ўзбекфильм), established in 1925, is the largest and oldest film studio in Uzbekistan.[4] The Uzbekistan State Institute of Arts and Culture in Tashkent is the major film school.[5][6]

Few Uzbek films after Uzbekistan became independent have achieved international notability. According to some Russian film critics around 2009, many of the modern Uzbek movies were cheap and of low quality.[7][8] They suggested that while the quantity of Uzbek films is going up, the quality was not.[7] However, there have been several critically acclaimed films in recent years, such as Scorpion (2018), Hot Bread (2019), and 2000 Songs of Farida (2020). I’m not a terrorist (2021), Sunday (2023).[9]

With the appointment of Firdavs Abdukhalikov as general director of Uzbekkino in 2019,[10] radical reforms in the cinematography of Uzbekistan were launched. In 2020, about 200 well-known filmmakers of the republic, including Ali Khamraev and Kamara Kamalova, published an open appeal in which they called on all representatives of the industry to unite in solving the problems of national cinema and support the ongoing reforms.[citation needed] In April 2021, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev actually launched the reforms by signing Decree “On measures to raise the cinematic arts and film industry to a qualitatively new level and further improve the system of state support for the industry”. According to the decree, the National Agency "Uzbekkino" was renamed the Cinematography Agency of Uzbekistan, the House of Cinema was reconstructed, and the annual Tashkent International Film Festival was established, which became the successor to the International Film Festival of Asia, Africa and Latin America and was held in Tashkent in the fall of 2021 year for the first time after a 24-year break.[11]

Uzbekistani film directors

Uzbekistan film actors

Main article: List of Uzbekistani film actors

Uzbekistani actors and actresses include:

List of Uzbekistan films

Main article: List of Uzbekistan films

The following are selected critically acclaimed Uzbek films:

See also


  1. ^ Cloé Drieu, "Cinema, Local Power and the Central State: Agencies in Early Anti-Religious Propaganda in Uzbekistan," Die Welt des Islams 50 (2010), 532-563.
  2. ^ Cloé Drieu, Cinema, Nation, and Empire in Uzbekistan, 1919-1937, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2019.
  3. ^ Drieu (2019).
  4. ^ A. M. Prokhorov, ed. (1974). "Uzbekfilm". Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian) (3rd ed.). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ Brisbane, Katherine; Chaturvedi, Ravi; Majumdar, Ramendu; et al., eds. (2005). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre. Vol. 5: Asia/Pacific. Routledge. p. 573.
  6. ^ "About the institute". UzSIAC - The Uzbekistan State Institute of Arts and Culture. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Saidazimova, Gulnoza (19 March 2013). "Uzbekistan: In All Movie Theaters". Fergananews (in Russian). Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  8. ^ Musayev, Rashid (26 December 2009). "Uzbek Cinema is Reviving". Central Asia Online (in Russian). Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  9. ^ Frater, Patrick (16 June 2023). "Uzbekistan Title 'Sunday' Claims Asian New Talent Prize at Shanghai Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Firdavs Abduxoliqov "O'zbekkino"ga direktor bo'ldi". Xabar. 9 December 2019.
  11. ^ "PF-6202-сон 07.04.2021. Kino san'ati va sanoatini yangi bosqichga olib chiqish, sohani davlat tomonidan qo'llab-quvvatlash tizimini yanada takomillashtirish to'g'risida". Retrieved 4 December 2023.