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Meeting at the Old Mosque

Sukhbat Khamidov
Vstrecha u staroy mecheti
USSR 1969 / 87’
USSR: Central Asian Films

Tajik director Sukhbat Khamidov made Meeting at the Old Mosque in 1969. Not only is 1969 the production date, it is also a film about the year. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 showed that the hopeful time of romanticism, faith in the future and attempts to reform the communist state was over.

The film is set in the early 1930s, just after the civil war in Central Asia between the Red Army and the Turk basmachi (bandits) ended. The main character, Viktor, a war hero, is now the party boss in a small Tajik town. He feels nobody needs him as a hero anymore while he does not want to be a pencil pusher. One day Viktor gets word that a band of enemies has come to his town to find gold. He seizes the opportunity to return to the good old days, dumping paper and pen in favour of the gun.

Sergey Lavrentyev / Rotterdam IFF

Sukhbat Khamidov

Born in 1939, died in 1997. Tajik film director. He graduated in 1967 from the State Institute for Cinematography. Khamidov is somewhat forgotten by Soviet film history, with Meeting at the Old Mosque, an outstanding picture and arguably the best Central Asian Red Western of the 1960s, being his only acclaimed feature.

Selected filmography

1970 Spotkanie przy starym meczecie / Vstrecha u staroy mecheti / Meeting at the Old Mosque

1971 Legenda tiurmi paviak / Legend of the ‘Paviak’ Prison

1974 Tayna zabytoy perepravy / Mystery of the Forgotten Crossing

Cast & Crew

director Sukhbat Khamidov
screenplay Oleg Osetinsky
cinematography Zavur Dakhte
music Eduard Artemiev
cast Khodzhadurdy Narliev, Roman Khomyatov, Alexandra Zavyalova, Anvar Turaev
production Tajikfilm
sales Tajikfilm
source of print DEFA
language Russian
colouration b&w