top of page

(Hand Mill)


Gulzat Egemberdieva

Digital HD, color & black & white, 51 min.

Chemodan Films, 2018. 


Tyup, Kyrgyzstan

"Zhargylchak” (hand mill) has been used for generations by Kyrgyz nomads. Sitting before their yurts, women turn their hand mills in one and the same direction. What is grand is not only grain to be turned into flour, but life that repeats itself, like other traditions such as bridal kidnapping. The film, narrated from the point of view of the filmmaker, who is both an insider and outsider, tells the life story of several women of different generations who have been the object of bridal kidnapping. Some were traumatized, some wished for it, others just endured. But the hand mill of life affects everybody, men and women, even those who attempt to break its cycle.


The project received an Honourable Mention from the Hot Docs – CrossCurrents Doc Fund of 2015. Funded by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the National Film Board of Canada. 

The film was screened at the German International Ethnographic Film Festival (GIEFF) in Koblenz, May 9-13, 2018 ( and the Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival , Vancouver, November 20-24, 2019. It received a special recognition at the Festival of the Ethnological TV films – FESTEF in Kucevo, Serbia, July 19, 2019. 

Leaving for market
Hand mill
Animal market, Karakol
bottom of page