Салам Нью-Йорк

Salaam, New York (Салам, Нью-Йорк) is a 2013 Kyrgyz film by director Ruslan Akun (Руслан Акун), who also directed and wrote 2011’s Bishkek, I Love You (Бишкек, я люблю тебя). Akun also wrote the film, along with Gulzhan Toktogulova (Гульжан Токтогулова). It was based on true events—Akun’s time studying at a visual arts school in New York—and one of Akun’s goals was to move away from the tragedy and pathos of much contemporary filmmaking and introduce a new, good-hearted, life-affirming hero into Kyrgyz cinema.

Like its predecessor, Salaam, New York is a romantic comedy—it was released on Valentine’s Day. But it travels far away from Akun’s previous subject matter of the city of Bishkek, instead telling the story of a Kyrgyz man who leaves his low-paying job in Kyrgyzstan to try to make his way in the big city and fulfill all his dreams.

Among the actors were several who had debuted in Bishkek, I Love You, plus others for whom it was their first acting gig. Few were professional actors; the casting was carried out through Internet voting. The movie was filmed in New York, which presented its own set of problems: getting filming permits, staying within their tight budget—which is why Akun ended up doing all the cooking for the filming crew, and making a police car out of a cheap Ford and some borrowed sirens.

The film was the highest-grossing film in Kyrgyzstan’s entire history since independence, and it was rated highly by audiences. It was shown abroad as well as in Kyrgyzstan.


Director: Ruslan Akun (Руслан Акун)
Stars: Bektemir Mamayusupov (Бектемир Мамаюсупов), Aida Tulebaeva (Аида Тулебаева), Marina Beyn (Марина Бэйн), Yulia Daurova (Юлия Даурова), Aleks Galper (Алекс Галпер), and others
Production studio: Nomadmen Films
Box office take: $700,000


Official trailer:


Салам Нью-Йорк

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.