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Zhargylchak (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. 

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