Berlinale

Harmony Lessons (Uroki Garmonii)

Synopsis
Following a humiliation in front of his classmates during a medical check-up, Aslan (13) falls ill with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Aslan is a student at a village school in a crime-ridden section of Kazakhstan. The dirty criminal world of the school conflicts drastically with Aslan’s perfectionism and sense for beauty and purity. Aslan sees all the evil in the school gang leader Bolat (13), the one responsible for Aslan’s humiliation. Bolat is part of the established power system at the school: he collects money from younger kids and beats them up severely. With good intentions to rid his school of violence, Aslan decides to kill Bolat…

Director’s note
Harmony Lessons is a spiritual journey, a coming of age story and at the same time a controversial social drama. It touches universal and still very intimate subjects of violence and loneliness as well as the decisions that we make in life.


World premiere
Berlin International Film Festival 2013, Competition

Key festivals and awards
Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Berlin International Film Festival 2013
NETPAC Award, Warsaw International Film Festival 2013
Best New Narrative Director, Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Critics Special Award, São Paulo International Film Festival 2013
High Commendation, Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2013
Special Mention, Ghent International Film Festival 2013
João Bénard da Costa Special Jury Award, Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2013
Best First Time Director and Honorable Mention, Philadelphia Film Festival 2013
Best Director Award, Sakhalin International Film Festival 2013
New Director's Showcase Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2013
Special Jury Prize, Tokyo FILMeX 2013
Critics Awards, French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2014

Kazakhstan, 2013
Director: Emir Baigazin
Producers: Anna Katchko (Russia), JCS Kazakhfilm (Kazakhstan), The Post Republic (Germany), Arizona Productions (France), Rohfilm (Germany)
German WCF partner: The Post Republic
World sales: Films Distribution (France)

Funded in the WCF jury meeting in July 2012
Funding amount: 40.000 €