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40 days of silence  
40 days of silence
A Feature film.
Director: Saodat Ismailova

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40 days of silence
Feature film.
Director: Saodat Ismailova
Uzbek with English Subtitles
100 min, 35 mm.

Production: Atopic Films (France), Volya Films (Netherlands), Map Productions (Uzbekistan)
with support from: Fonds Sud (France), Hubert Bals Fund (Netherlands), DAAD Berlin (Germany) 
Co-producers: Denis Vaslin, Antoine Segovia, Benny Drecshel. Selected project for L'Atelier (Cannes 2009)


Bibicha a young woman conceals herself in a vow of silence in the house of her grandmother Khanjarmomo, who lives with her illegitimate granddaughter Sharifa. Khanjarmomo doubts Bibicha reasons. Is she vowing for the return of her beloved mysteriously disappeared? Or is she hiding an illicit pregnancy?

During her vow, Bibicha is challenged by the sudden arrival of Khamida, the mother of Sharifa, who comes back to the village after years of absence. Bibicha sees in Khamida her possible future. This encounter brings back to live the past and future of this family of women whose destinies seem to repeat from generation to generation in an emotional curse.

Bibicha will witness the awakening of her womanhood.
Khanjarmomo will finally make peace with her past and will try to reconstruct her broken family Marrying Khamida to her dead lover in order to finally legitimate Sharifa.

During these 40 days all these women will come to means with their destinies.


Directors note:
"40 days of silence" is a story about women confronting crucial decisions: motherhood, the weight of tradition, homeland, emotional freedom, religion and self-destruction in modern society.
The characters are drawn from close people, whose lives and stories have inspired and animate the four characters that represent my vision of Uzbek women from past to present.
Bibicha the main character is the silent mirror that reflects and exorcizes all these intimate stories to come out.
Aside from women's issues, I want to explore the idea of identity loss, of deep human reevaluation and transformation in a society deeply rooted in Islam, a society that was reshaped by communism and has recently become independent.

How all these changes are reflected in these women destinies, in their souls.

This film pretends to unveil and present an intimate portrait of four women from four different generations, with different visions of life yet with the same problems.