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Ayka – Festival de Cannes In Competition Prospectus


Sergey Dvortsevoy – Kazakhstan

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This Russian-Kazakhstani film follows a young Kyrgyz girl called Ayka (Samal Yeslyamova) who lives and works illegally in Moscow. After giving birth to her son she leaves him in hospital. However, her motherly yearning leads her to desperate attempts of finding the abandoned child, but will she be reunited with her child? (by Bianca Garner)


“Kazakh writer-director Sergey Dvortsevoy returns to the Croisette with competition hopeful Ayka, a far dourer affair set in the drabbest, grubbiest hellholes of Moscow. And if you know Moscow, you know it does drab, grubby hellholes in a big way.” – – – – – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“The film comes alive with real scenes of animals being treated. An injured female Dachshund is laid on an examining table, and her four puppies are brought to her to nurse, an extended scene so gripping in its own right that it transcends the story. Ayka, standing by with her mop, is rendered a bystander in her own movie.” – – – – – Barbara Scharres,


One of the least talked about films, shown late in the festival. My immediate hunch was that the strong similarities to The Child and Rosetta (both Palme d’Or winners from the Dardennes brothers) held the film in good esteem at Cannes. Personally, I think if you are looking for a dark horse for Best Actress then look no further than Samal Yeslyamova. A gut feeling so persistent with me I almost believe she will win.


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