Berlinale 2023 Girls Administrators: Meet Malika Musayeva – “The Cage is In search of a Chicken”


Malika Musayeva was born in Grozny, Chechen Republic. In the course of the Second Chehen Conflict in 1999, she fled the Chechen Republic. Throughout her research at Russia’s Kabardino-Balkarian State College she directed a number of quick movies which have been offered at numerous worldwide movie festivals. She later obtained a level in Directing on the Hamburg Media Faculty in Germany. In Hamburg, she directed two quick movies. “The Cage is In search of a Chicken” marks her function debut. She presently resides and works in Germany.

“The Cage Is In search of a Chicken” is screening on the 2023 Berlin Worldwide Movie Pageant, which runs from February 16-26.

W&H: Describe the movie for us in your personal phrases.

MM: “The Cage Is In search of a Chicken” is a coming-of-age story of a younger Chechen woman referred to as Yakha who lives in a small Chechen village. She witnesses the patriarchal world the place the fates of her sister, mom, and feminine good friend unravel. Yakha decides to cease this vicious circle.

It’s a story of changing into conscious of her actual self, of the world round her. She makes an attempt to struggle for the precise to determine on the right way to stay her personal life.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

MM: There was no particular event or second that led to the creation of this movie. It was slightly a protracted, cumulative means of witnessing the fates of people who find themselves essential to me — for instance, my pals and sisters. It’s a type of compilation of Chechen girls’s fates which have been collected in my reminiscence. And when it grew to become attainable, I made my debut movie on that topic.

I’ve at all times cared concerning the place of Chechen girls. I do know concerning the scenario and place of girls in my homeland. It’s a particular area the place you don’t speak about your self and your issues. You will need to me that we discuss for ourselves.

W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie?

MM: I hope that the screening of the movie on the Berlin Movie Pageant will carry hope to Chechen ladies. Even when that hope is a drop within the ocean. I wish to want Chechen girls to not lose their dream, and to place confidence in themselves. Being born as a Chechen isn’t a verdict. And there may be additionally the hope that after watching this movie, society will take discover of the ladies’s downside in Chechnya. And, as [Russian director] Alexander Sokurov [who taught me at Kabardino-Balkarian State University] used to say, “to melt temperament.”

W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?

MM: The truth that it was attainable to make this movie is an actual marvel. In Chechnya, function movies have by no means been made, and other people have no idea what it’s. As well as, the Chechen society is intimidated and lives in fixed worry. That may be a consequence of the 2 damaging wars and the political regime wherein individuals stay now. To begin with, it was tough to search out individuals who would conform to make a movie. The issue was additionally that I didn’t perceive the place to make this type of movie. With the producer Nikolay Yankin (the Sokurov Basis’s Instance of Intonation), we travelled virtually all around the North Caucasus. It was a tough and tough course of. At one level, I used to be simply discouraged, and I assumed I might by no means be capable to make this movie. Ultimately, like a lightweight on the finish of the tunnel, I arrived in a small village on the border with Chechnya and Ingushetia. On this village, I met some wonderful individuals who had dared to stroll this fashion with me.

W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.

MM: I made the movie with the assist of the Alexander Sokurov Basis Instance of Intonation and Ilya Stewart’s Hype Studios. The unique proposal to shoot with the assistance of the Instance of Intonation Basis got here from Alexander Sokurov, below whom I studied within the directing workshop at Kabardino- Balkarian College within the metropolis of Nalchik. With out my grasp, this movie would merely not have occurred. In any respect phases, probably the most tough and generally dangerous ones, Alexander Sokurov helped and supported me in every part. I’ll by no means have the phrases to thank my grasp.

W&H: What impressed you to develop into a filmmaker?

MM: I by no means had the dream of changing into a movie director. My dream since childhood was to develop into a journalist. My idols was Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, and I dreamed of continuous their work and being a human rights activist. I went into directing by probability – my dad and mom wouldn’t let me go to a different metropolis the place I may research journalism. Then I discovered that movie director Alexander Sokurov was coming to Nalchik and was opening a directing workshop. I used to be very unhappy that I used to be not allowed to go to review Journalism after which my mom, to make up for it in some way, actually took me by the hand to the college, to the doorway examination for Alexander Sokurov. Later, she regretted it as a result of I had not develop into an ideal Chechen mom, spouse, and housewife.

W&H: What’s one of the best and worst recommendation you’ve obtained?

MM: There have been many, however I can’t bear in mind any. I at all times find yourself doing what I believe is correct for me.

W&H: What recommendation do you will have for different girls administrators?

MM: I wish to give the phrases that Alexander Sokurov used to inform us, “By no means be afraid of something.”

W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why.

MM: I actually love Rohrwacher’s works. My most favourite movie is “The Wonders.” Her movies for me are an actual miracle, some type of magic. I’m additionally an enormous fan of Chantal Akerman’s movies. Her work could be very near me – it speaks to me and forces me to look deep into myself.

W&H: What, if any, duties do you suppose storytellers need to confront the tumult on the planet, from the pandemic to the lack of abortion rights and systemic violence?

MM: Cinema is a strong medium for influencing and educating. It’s additionally a political instrument. Movie can be a type of confrontation and battle, and the extra individuals within the movie trade suppose and struggle for rights, the extra society has an opportunity to face up in opposition to them. Movie can be a type of opposition and struggle.

W&H: The movie trade has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting individuals of colour onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — unfavourable stereotypes. What actions do you suppose should be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?

MM: It’s crucial that this previous white man world is disadvantaged of its energy. The movie world wants extra individuals of colour who’re actors, actresses, screenwriters, and administrators. It appears to me that sadly this modification continues to be very minimal, at the very least in Germany, the place I stay.

I wish to see younger administrators and actors who’re individuals of colour to have the ability to make their very own tales, slightly than have their tales being advised by white individuals. Individuals of colour ought to get extra assist, funding, and alternatives to inform their very own tales, not the tales the white world dictates to them. This requires that the ill-informed white male choice makers now not sit in management positions.

It appears to me that change is required from inside, and this modification shouldn’t be a difficulty on the periphery of the trade, however the principle job. Change has to come back from inside.


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