The Haunted

Saodat Ismailova

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Staff picks The Haunted
Saodat Ismailova

23 Minutes

Staff Picks

November 1–30, 2021

The Turan tiger, a majestic symbol of the Central Asian landscape, has been extinct for several decades, but it lives on as a sacred symbol in the collective imagination of the local population. In her captivating film essay, Ismailova pays homage to this animal as she shows how firmly bound it is, in people’s minds, to the region’s history. The tiger is a spectre that emerges from the darkness and disappears again, the landscape is like a network of ruins buried under layers of the past. The collage of visual and audio fragments, accompanied by the filmmaker’s passionate commentary, shows that “real” history cannot be separated from shared ideas and dreams.

The Haunted is an intimate video letter to the spirit of the extinct Turan tiger, which disappeared from Central Asia in the twentieth century. Today, the tiger lives on in people’s collective memory.” (Saodat Ismailova)

The Haunted is one of three shorts by Saodat Ismailova, alongside Her Right and Her Five Lives, presented on e-flux Video & Film as the November 2021 edition of Staff picks. Watch the other films here.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Video Art, Caucasus & Central Asia, Memory, Animals, History, Extinction
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Saodat Ismailova is a filmmaker and artist who came of age in the post-Soviet era in Central Asia. She graduated from Tashkent State Art Institute in Uzbekistan and Le Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts in France. Her films and video installations have been presented at the Venice Biennale, Sharjah Biennial, documenta fifteen (Kassel), Shanghai Biennial, Berlinale International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, CPH DOX (Copenhagen), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), and Parasite (Hong Kong). Her stage work has appeared at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, Musée du Quai Branly (Paris), and other venues around the world.


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