20 interesting facts about “Kyz Zhibek”

Gold reserve

Sultan Kozhykov’s art film “Kyz Zhibek”, which shows the love of two young people, relationship between two families, people’s lives and their destiny, is a gold reserve of Kazakh film nowadays. We present you interesting facts from moments full of excitement and troubles during the preparation of the film script “Kyz Zhibek”, the implementation of the preparatory work, the process of making the film and editing it.   

  1. The first name of the film “Kyz Zhibek” was “Akku”. It was written in 1944, 10 years before making the film. In 1967 it was recalled as a ready script when new scripts were being approved.
  2. White yurts (nomad houses) with 8-10 panels, which do not exist nowadays, were built specially to make the film. Colorful mats, clean white wool, young elastic branches to bend kerege (main tension rope) were used.
  3. According to the film director’s script, it was approved that Zhibek needed 10 different costumes. (In the film “Anna Karenina” Karenina had 25 different costumes)
  4. Velvet, silk, tabaret, plush, beaver for a dress-camisole, marten, fur, jewelry, pearls and corals all necessary for costumes were used in order artificial and painted materials could be seen on the screen.
  5. On the basis of a special decree, Ministry of Agriculture was obliged to find 40 best horses for the film.
  6. It was permitted to spend 10000 rubles to buy people’s saddles, chain mails, furniture of the yurts and other things which were not in trade like kilem (carpet), tekemet (a big blanket) and syrmak (embroidered blanket). 
  7. Faсtory “Souvenir” in Almaty made a hundred jewelries from silver and white iron for batyrs and girls’ clothes.
  8. Under the leadership of Art Director Gulfairus Yssmailova, the best masters sewed hundreds, thousands beads on girls’ camisoles and dresses with their hands.
  9. About 100 studio workers in the group of “Kyz Zhibek” had been doing all preparation work for 2 years. 
  10.  About 400 candidates sent their letters for the role of Zhibek. Only 15 of them were chosen to play the role of Zhibek’s friends.
  11. Film directors had been looking for the appropriate girl for Zhibek’s role for a long time. The director, Gazel Magauina took Meruert Otekeshova, a 10 grade pupil of the school №66 in Almaty, to the studio.
  12. On 4 April 1969, the first materials of the film were discussed at the art committee meeting. At the meeting Tolegen was criticized to be weak and scared in comparison to Bekezhan.  Shaken Aimanov said “We see a mindless and carefree person” and Gabit Musirepov expressed his uncertainty “He is powerless in comparison to Bekezhan. Tolegen, I am saying again, is too weak, there is little hope…” However, handsome and polite Kuman Tastanbekov played Tologen’s role on the highest level.
  13. 60 camels were brought from villages during shooting “Forty caravan” at the sites called “Syrlybai village”.
  14. Two big cranes were sent to scab the ancient signs on the stones.   
  15. 35 yurts were constructed for “Syrlybai village” on the bank of the Ile.
  16. Swans from Bishkek zoo were brought specially for the film.
  17. They had a chance to film the scene of dancing swans during Kui contest between Karwyga and Shege when it was getting dark. The operator and the film director had been waiting insistently for all day to film the dance of swans.
  18. 50 thousand meter film tape was used to make 3600 meters long film.
  19. The nature of Ulytau, Aktau, Altai, Zhaiyk, Ile bank, Karkaraly, Alatau was filmed to show beauty of open and wide land of Kazakhstan.
  20. In 1972 “Kyz Zhibek” was shown at the All-union cinema festival in Baku and was highly estimated. 

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