Bishkek, I Love You (Бишкек, я люблю тебя) is a 2011 Kyrgyz comedy/drama film. The film’s tagline was “The first film about your favorite city” (“Первый фильм про твой любимый город”), highlighting how its goal was not only to tell a good story but specifically to give Bishkek the film treatment it deserves.
Ruslan Akun (Руслан Акун) was the director, screenwriter, camera operator, film editor, and producer of the film—he did everything other than act in it. He was joined by several others on the technical/production side, including Aleksandr Tsay (Александр Цай) and Chingiz Torobekov (Чингиз Торобеков)—the production team was six people in total. Akun, born in 1984, is a young filmmaker who is rising to the top of the Kyrgyz film scene, with a few other more recent hits, most notably 2013’s Salaam, New York (Салам, Нью-Йорк).
The film itself consists of ten short stories, all centering around romantic relationships and how life in the big city influences these relationships. But the film used those human stories to show all sides of Bishkek, including not just love but business, politics, youth culture, and family—the film’s creators hoped that all young people living in Bishkek would be able to see themselves in one of the characters. None of the actors were professionals—the directors either were already acquainted with them or found them through social networking sites.
The film was record-breaking in its profits. On the day it was released, more than 10,000 people in Bishkek went to see it. It has mixed reviews, though, with some saying it didn’t live up to expectations and that it didn’t compare with other films with a similar conceit. But whether or not it’s a perfect specimen of filmmaking, it gives an in-depth look at the city of Bishkek, and in the film world it’s more or less alone in that achievement.
Director: Ruslan Akun (Руслан Акун), Aleksandr Tsay (Александр Цай), Saule Alymbekova (Сауле Алымбекова), Stepan Golovash (Степан Головаш), Chingiz Torobekov (Чингиз Торобеков), Eldar Supataev (Элдар Супатаев)
Stars: Rita Manzhieva (Рита Манжиева), Vadim Kim (Вадим Ким), Khazym Kurbanaliev (Хазым Курбаналиев), Alina Baltabaeva (Алина Балтабаева), Begaim Nanaeva (Бегаим Нанаева), Ruslan Dzhanybekov (Руслан Джаныбеков), and others
Production company: Cerebrum Production