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Kazakh screenwriter contributes to China-Kazakhstan friendship through artworks

BEIJING, July 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A report from People’s Daily: “Friendship and mutual trust are particularly important in a world that is undergoing changes unseen in a century, which further highlights the significance of the movie The Composer,” said Sabit Kurmanbekov, an art director of the movie and a screenwriter from Kazakhstan, during a recent interview with People’s Daily.

Photo shows a monument commemorating Chinese composer Xian Xinghai on Xian Xinghai Boulevard in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Qu Song/People's Daily)
Photo shows a monument commemorating Chinese composer Xian Xinghai on Xian Xinghai Boulevard in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Qu Song/People’s Daily)

“The Composer” is the first movie jointly produced by China and Kazakhstan. Kurmanbekov said he is proud to be a part of it, adding that cultural cooperation between the two countries under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) enjoys bright prospects.

The movie was an outcome of the inter-government co-production shooting agreement signed by China and Kazakhstan in 2016. It tells the story of how late Chinese composer Xian Xinghai was saved and helped by a Kazakh peer during World War II when he got stranded in Almaty, Kazakhstan while trying to return to China from the Soviet Union.

Kurmanbekov was initially invited by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan to be an art director of the movie. During the production, filmmakers from the two countries soon made friends with each other. Under the proposal of Chinese director Sherzat Yahuf, Kurmanbekov was promoted to assistant director.

Recalling this experience, Kurmanbekov said he was impressed by the advanced technologies and strict procedure control of China’s filmmaking industry, and he was delighted to see that his Chinese counterparts had embraced his revision to the script.

“I was lucky to have such an experience in my career,” Kurmanbekov told People’s Daily.

Kurmanbekov, who lives in Almaty, is quite familiar with the name Xian Xinghai. However, it was when he worked with his Chinese peers to refine the details of the story that he truly delved into the fate of this great Chinese musician.

“I often couldn’t help but wonder if I could overcome all the challenges and keep making music in a remote and cold foreign land just like Xian did. His love and loyalty to his home country are also what touch me,” Kurmanbekov noted.

He said the movie portrays a story about friendship and mutual trust. Friendship is beyond national borders and identities. It saves people in times of danger and gives them wings to soar.

“In the movie, we can always see the beauty of friendship and mutual trust, and these good qualities are exactly needed by the world today,” Kurmanbekov said.

He called the movie a very successful co-production and an exemplary model of international people-to-people and cultural exchanges. He believes that people-to-people and cultural exchanges between nations are as important as political and economic cooperation.

He said Kazakhstan and China enjoy a long history of friendship, with a shared goal of promoting peace and friendship worldwide in the 21st century.

“Art is a language spoken to people’s hearts and serves as a vessel of ideas that will be appreciated and interpreted by future generations, thus having incomparable influence. It plays an important role in enhancing mutual trust, showing mutual respect, and promoting peace,” Kurmanbekov remarked.

In 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the main cast members of the movie at the Great Hall of the People and watched the trailers. Kurmanbekov said the meeting still excites him today.

He said the BRI proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping is a great cause that revitalizes the ancient Silk Road on the Eurasian continent, promotes the development of partner countries, lifts millions of people out of poverty, and embraces peace and development.

People in Central Asia particularly value the opportunities brought about by connectivity projects under the BRI, which helps connect the five landlocked countries in the region to the rest of the world, Kurmanbekov added.

Kurmanbekov filmed another movie in the years following the completion of “The Composer,” which tells a story of mutual assistance happening along the ChinaKazakhstan border. Currently, the Kazakh screenwriter is studying the discourse on peace in Chinese philosophy and hopes to make a film that tells the shared historical stories of Eurasian countries.

“I’ve already developed a mature concept and really hope to cast a Chinese actor as the male lead,” Kurmanbekov said.

He said he hopes to keep contributing to friendship and mutual trust between the people of Kazakhstan and China through his artworks.


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