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Cannes darling who ‘plays it like it is’

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Entertainment Live: Samal Yeslyamova almost burst into tears when she received a surprise award for best actress at the Cannes film festival last month. “When they announced my name I nearly cried: ‘but what about our movie?’” Yeslyamova told AFP, saying the entire film crew deserved an award.

The 33-year-old Kazakh actress won international acclaim for her wrenching portrayal of a Central Asian single mother struggling for survival in Russia in Sergey Dvortsevoy’s film “Ayka.”

While an illegal migrant, the young woman from Kyrgyzstan gives birth to a baby that she abandons at the maternity hospital. The idea for the film was based on tragic statistics from 2010 when 248 babies were abandoned by Kyrgyz mothers in Moscow’s maternity wards.

“But others including the director slept even less — just two hours a night,” Yeslyamova said during an interview in Moscow at GITIS, one of Russia’s most prestigious drama schools where she studied.

Once separated from her infant, the film’s title character Ayka suffers terribly, tortured with guilt for rejecting the baby and with her feelings of attachment to the child.

“The story about a bond between mother and child touches everyone because it could happen anywhere,” said Yeslyamova, who spent months observing the lives of young female immigrants in Moscow.

“Russian cinema has not seen such a degree of authenticity, repressed pain and energy for a long time — maybe never,” said respected news website Meduza. Dvortsevoy said in Cannes that the script was not set in stone but was a work-in-progress, with Yeslyamova’s character beginning to “live a life of her own”.

The actress is a proponent of the Stanislavsky school of acting, an approach developed by 20th century Russian theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky who stressed the importance of emotional authenticity.

Another of Yeslyamova’s teachers was acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev, director of “Leviathan” and “The Return”, who sat on the jury at Cannes this year.

When she was 19, she won a lead role in Dvortsevoy’s first feature film “Tulpan” or Tulip, playing a mother of three children. The movie won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes in 2008.




Dhaka, 23 June, ( //MI

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