Swiss short film nominated for an Oscar

Torn between her desire for freedom and the constraints of Kyrgyz culture, Sezim, played by Alina Turdumamatova, desperately seeks a way out Filmgerberei

Ala Kachuu (Take and Run), written and directed by German-Swiss filmmaker Maria Brendle, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Film (Live Action) category.

This content was published on February 9, 2022

The 38-minute drama tells the story of 19-year-old Sezim, from Kyrgyzstan, who wants to fulfil her dream of going to university. However, she is abducted and married off to a stranger. She is faced with a choice: either she refuses the marriage and accepts social stigmatisation and exclusion, or she follows her dream.

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Although this custom is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, it is still widespread in other regions of the world under the guise of tradition, Brendle said on the film’s websiteExternal link. Only a few girls are able to escape marriage after the kidnapping, called “Ala Kachuu”.

“Many accept their fate, for fear of being rejected and ostracised,” she said.

With this film, which stars Alina Turdumamatova as Sezim, Brendle said she wanted to “contribute to raising society’s awareness of women’s rights and give a voice to those who are rarely heard”.

Brendle, 38, was born in Germany and studied at Zurich University of the Arts. She lives and works in Zurich.

It’s been more than 30 years since a Swiss actor or director won an Oscar. Director Xavier Koller is the most recent winner, picking up the award for his immigrant drama Journey of Hope, named Best Foreign Language Film in 1991.

Ala Kachuu is one of five films to make it to the shortlistExternal link, announced on Tuesday. The 94th Academy Awards are set to take place in Hollywood on March 27.

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