Freedom. Fatherland. Mother Tongue - a film by Khava Khazbieva - celebrates the life and legacy of Ingushetia's remarkable poet and artist, Ali Khashagulgov. It is a compelling work of deep sincerity and lyricism - essential viewing for anyone interested in the history and culture of the North Caucasus.
Born in 1943, Ali Khashagulgov was deported with his family and people in 1944 – as an 8-month-old "enemy of the people". He grew up in exile, without much formal education as deportee children were mostly used for slave labour in cotton fields; yet showed so much artistic talent that his drawings won him, at 10 years of age, a prize in a national competition and a place at one the top art schools in the country. However, that offer was withdrawn once his non grata nationality was discovered.
That put him off drawing and painting for a while. Switching to poetry earned him 4 years in the Gulags for speaking out against the injustice done to his people. For the rest of his life in the USSR, he faced restrictions on where he was allowed to live and work. With the fall of the Soviet Union, things should have changed; but the Prigorodny District tragedy of 1992 in his homeland was a heavy blow he never recovered from, despite publications of his poetry and art exhibitions and some recognition. He passed away in 1999 and rests in his family's ancestral highland home, the village of Leimi.
The film will be introduced by Daria Kulesh, award-winning folk singer-songwriter of Russian and Ingush descent, who will perform her song "The Highlanders", commissioned for the film, and a short set of songs from her highly acclaimed album Long Lost Home (LCM Album of the Year), rooted in her Ingush Grandmother's stories.
50 mins, in Russian and Ingush, with English subtitles + introduction and live performance