Directed by Aizhan Kassymbek • 2023 • Kazakhstan

Aizhan Kassymbek’s sophomore feature confirms her place as one of Kazakhstan’s most promising filmmakers. Based on the true story of the director’s friend Madina Akylbek – who tackles the lead role with remarkable courage – the film follows a single mother through the depths of the harsh Kazakh winter in the port city of Aktau. Dancer Madina struggles to support her daughter, emotionally damaged younger brother, and demanding mother, while fighting for child support and fending off unwanted male attention. Shot with an all-female crew, capturing the urban environment with an austere, contemplative eye, Madina gets to the heart of the competing crises afflicting contemporary Kazakh women.

Written and directed by Aizhan Kassymbek
Cinematography by Aigul Nurbulatova
Music by Robert Zingashin
Starring: Madina Akylbek, Alibek Adiken, Nesibeli Serikbayeva

In Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles

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  • Director Aizhan Kassymbek on telling women’s stories in modern Kazakhstan

    Filmmaker Aizhan Kassymbek sits down with Klassiki editorial director Sam Goff to discuss the making of her sophomore film, Madina: from adapting real-life events for the screen, to her decision to work with an all-female crew.

    Madina is streaming on Klassiki as part of our partnership with goE...