directed by Aysulu Onaran
Stealing a prized falcon to help fund their dream of moving to Paris, two Kazakh teenagers come of age, as they embark on a journey of liberation.
On the verge of adulthood, the wide-eyed and reserved sixteen-year-old schoolgirl, Ardak, can only imagine the feeling of desire, and the outburst of emotions of her first teenage love. Diagnosed with HIV as a child though has set her back somewhat in her pursuit. Living a sheltered life with her mother in a plush house in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, Ardak dreams of moving to Paris and becoming the next big thing in couture. But it’s a chance meeting at a local charity for HIV adolescents, where she meets the alluring and adventurous, Zhanna, to put her plans into motion. Before long, their youthful friendship will yield to an arduous, yet ardent romance, in a country that has stigmatized them since birth. Forging a plan to steal a prized falcon from Zhanna’s criminous cousin though, proves to be the ultimate test of their character and their relationship. Undoubtedly, first love can be difficult, but to truly liberate themselves, Ardak and Zhanna must take valorous action and be determined to overcome the danger awaiting them.
DRAMA 4K - 2022 - KAZAKHSTAN - 101min
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE Russian
CAST Amandine Noworyta, Iris Jodorowsky, William Mesguich, Jean-François Stevenin
PRODUCED BY Adilet Yessimov
Aysulu Onaran (born 14 March 1976) is a film and stage director, producer and screenwriter living and working in the United Kingdom. In 2008, became a partner of production company AIM Entertainment in Mosfilm Studio in Moscow, where she produced video content for advertising campaigns, corporate documentaries, fashion, and music videos. In 2019, Aysulu co-produced her first short film called "Sweet Street", which follows the life of a sex worker in the north of England. Since 2020, Aysulu Onaran has been working on her first feature film 'Balaban'; a coming-of-age story set to film in Kazakhstan in 2021. Aysulu co-wrote the screenplay with Sam Roffey and the film marks her debut as a director.