Kletka ishet ptitsu

The Cage Is Looking for a Bird
Yakha is 17 and loves roaming about the fields with her friend Madina. Her home is a village in Chechnya where she lives with her mother and little brother. She is self-composed by nature and knows what she wants, but is also open to life – which begins to take shape in the form of certain cultural and social concepts. Madina wants to get married; Yakha’s older sister wants a divorce. Her mother is against it – after all, she herself managed to persevere. Together they visit the grave of their father who died in the second Chechen war.
This debut film by Malika Musaeva impresses with its stylistically and narratively unobtrusive cinematic impressionism that succeeds in balancing the main character’s carefree youthfulness and inner maturity. Yakha’s complex emotional world is conveyed primarily in terms of atmosphere, via looks and gestures, landscapes and movements in the air. The deep rift between tradition and modernity, and between gendered reality and self-determination, is all the more forcefully revealed. A film about what it means to be and live as a young woman. And about melancholy.
by Malika Musaeva
with Khadizha Bataeva, Madina Akkieva, Fatima Elzhurkaeva, Rita Merzhoeva, Magomed Alhastov, Muhammad Bataev, Khamila Isaeva, Bekhan Dzakalov, Aishat Akkieva, Dzhambulat Albakov
France / Russian Federation 2023 Chechen 87’ World premiere | Debut film


  • Khadizha Bataeva (Yakha)
  • Madina Akkieva (Madina)
  • Fatima Elzhurkaeva (Heda)
  • Rita Merzhoeva (Maret)
  • Magomed Alhastov (Ibragim)
  • Muhammad Bataev (Lyoma)
  • Khamila Isaeva (Zama)
  • Bekhan Dzakalov (Mohmad)
  • Aishat Akkieva (Madina's mother)
  • Dzhambulat Albakov (Khasan)


Director Malika Musaeva
Screenplay Malika Musaeva
Cinematography Dmitriy Nagovskiy
Editing Vincent Deyveaux
Music Murat Kabardokov
Sound Design Ivan Gusakov
Sound Gavriil Biryulin
Production Design AVESTA
Costumes Olga Smirnova
Make-Up Ksenya Yakhnina
Casting Marianna Kazancheva
Assistant Director Andrey Mayover
Production Manager Anna Angaleva
Producers Ilya Stewart, Nikolay Yankin, Murad Osmann, Pavel Buria
Co-Producers Elizaveta Chalenko, Ilya Dzhincharadze

Produced by

Hype Studios


Malika Musaeva

Born in Grozny, Chechnya in 1992. During the Second Chechen War, she fled with her family to Ingushetia and then Ukraine before emigrating to Germany. In 2003, she returned to Russia where she attended school and then the Kabardino-Balkarian State University in Nalchik in the North Caucasus. Several of the short films she made there have screened at international festivals. She currently lives in Germany where she is taking a degree in directing at the Hamburg Media School. Kletka ishet ptitsu is her debut feature film.


2013 Priotkrivaya dver (Slightly Opening the Door); short film 2014 Bashnya molchaniya (The Tower of the Silence); short film 2016 Legkaya vina (Minor Guilty); short film 2017 Strakh (Angst); short film 2018 Ya ostayus (I Can Stand); short film 2023 Kletka ishet ptitsu (The Cage Is Looking for a Bird)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023