In the art of modern animation, the Uzbek specialists and filmmakers turned to historical themes, appearances and deeds of our great ancestors, giving them a new incarnation according to the national ideology. The principle of educating the younger generation in the spirit of national ideas based on the instructive examples, taken from the history of our nation, has took on the new interpretation. The animated films like “The Legend of Jaloliddin”, “Toumaris”, “The Star of Zardusht” and “Spitamen” have been created in this vein.
The artistic director of the Cartoon Studio at the “Uzbekfilm” Film Studios, the Honored Worker of Culture of Uzbekistan, director and animation artist – Mawzur Makhmudov – made a great contribution to the Uzbek hand-drawn animated films. After graduating from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in 1976, he began his career in the “Cartoon Association” of “Uzbekfilm”. His tutor was a famous director – I. Ivanov-Vano, who helped him to master the secrets of the art of animation. The debut film by M. Makhmudov as director and artist was “The Ballad about the Falcon and the Star” (1978, script by O. Khmelnytskaya).
The animation film by M. Makhmudov, “The Legend of Jaloliddin” (1999, script by M. Tuychiev) is dedicated to the great commander, fair and glorious Sultan Jaloliddin Manguberdi, who fought heroically against the invaders in the beginning of the XIII century. This film is about patriotism, love and devotion to the Motherland, the unity and dedication of the people in the fight against the enemy.
It should be noted that the figure of Jaloliddin Manguberdi at that period is reflected not only in animation, but also in other art forms. Therefore, director has created a generalized image of the hero using the possibilities of animation. He portrayed him using the drawn pictures confirming that the possibilities of an animation director are extremely broad.
The figure of Jaloliddin Manguberdi in the animated scenes of the film is important because, in his stature and proud look, bursting with energy and force, there are new features that were missing in the perception of this great ancestor by the people of Uzbekistan, who in the film by M. Makhmudov is the living image of the devoted son of the nation, urging people to become the advocates of peace and tranquillity in their Motherland.
Every year more and more attention is given to the production of the animated films based on the Uzbek folk tales and poems, classical literature and the works of Uzbek writers. The latest animation technology was used to create them. Since 2010, such animated movies as “Farhad and Shirin”, “The Lion and the Carpenter” adaptation of the poems by Alisher Navoi, “Three Comrades”, “Spitamen”, “The Liar and the Truthful”, “Semurg – the Bird of Happiness” based of different historical events, legends and Uzbek folk tales have been released.
Among the animated films based on the works of the great thinker – Alisher Navoi – that have been produced starting from the second half of the 1990s by the director M. Makhmudov, for example, a film based on the poem “Sabayi Sayor” (“The Seven Planets”) of the famous “Khamsa”. Makhmudov studies carefully the literary source prior to start production of the animation film. He wrote a script for “Bakhrom and Dilorom” jointly with A. Fainberg. The script in condensed form reflects the content of the poem. The film embodies a unique charm and appeal of the poetry by Alisher Navoi.
It is quite a daunting task to transmit via video images the deep philosophical idea of the poem by Navoi, the beauty of his couplets, which can be compared to the gems. Being fully aware of this, M. Makhmudov, began an adaptation of the poem “The Seven Planets” starting from its first part – “Bakhrom and Dilorom”, which connects the seven stories that constitute its content. Another poem that makes a part of “Hamsa” by Alisher Navoi – “Farhad and Shirin” – was brought to the animated screen by director N. Tulyakhodjaev (2010), who in collaboration with the screenwriter E. Khasanova and the artist A. Gvardin used the existing experience in creation of this animation film. In this film as well, a deep sense of the love poem has found its perfect incarnation.
A master of his craft, M. Makhmudov is tirelessly seeking the new ways to express the meaningful ideas in his works, therefore he turned to the poem “The Amazement of the Immaculates“ (“Hayrat ul-Abror”) from the quintuple poem. In collaboration with R. Djabbarov, M. Makhmudov has written a screenplay on the basis of the poetic legend about a lying carpenter – “The Lion and the Carpenter” (2010, artist S. Silka). M. Makhmudov took part in filmmaking also as a director. The deep meaning of the poem has acquired a bright poetic expression at the animation screen. The main idea of the film, topical at all times, is that “a human being should always be truthful”, which adds an enormous educational value to it.
In addition to the adaptations of the works of the national classics, the maitres of animation appeal to the foreign classics. Just so, the artist and director – M. Makhmudov has created the animated film “A Happy Prince” (1992) based on the scenario by N. Tulyakhodjaev, adapting the story by Oscar Wilde, in which he touched the theme of human feelings, revealing the spiritual world of a human being. A statue of the Prince mounted in the town square stands as the main character. The eyes of the statue are made of precious stones and the body of golden petals. The final of this film is tragic. The viewer understands that a symbol of the courageous person, willing to give his life for others, is a swallow. The film is attractive due to its psychological content, revealing the depth of the human soul. Intended for the adult audience, this film encourages the spectators to think about the meaning of life, the essence and purpose of human existence. In 1993, the film was awarded by the Griffin Award of the Association of the Cinematographers of Uzbekistan.
Among the young artists of the animated films based on the classic works, the following films should be noted – “The Nightingale” (written and directed by M. Makhmudov, the artist M. Karabayev, 1999), “Come and have potluck with us” (script writer M. Makhmudov, director and artist Dmitry Vlasov, 2004). In “The Nightingale”, M. Makhmudov approached the classic genre of the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The idea of this film can be summed up in the words “the beauty will save the world”. A true beauty is the naturalness and purity of thoughts. This thought permeated the events in the film. The music that accompanies this film, emphasizes the divine nature of the idea that unfolds on the screen through such descriptive means as metaphor, grotesque and hyperbole.
The ability to transfer inner feelings and emotions through the paper dolls in animation, M. Makhmudov first showed in his film “A Happy Prince”, and then in “The Nightingale” it was reassured. This is a specific typological similarity of the two pictures. In 1999, the movie “The Nightingale” was awarded the first prize “Golden Fish” at the International Festival of Children’s Animation Cinema held in Moscow.
In the animated fairy tale “Come and have potluck with us” (screenplay by M. Makhmudov, director and artist D. Vlasov, 2004) used the technique of replacement, which resulted in the the modern interpretation of the fairy tale by H. H. Andersen “Whatever a man does, it is perfect”. The authors of the film, keeping the original idea of the writer, changed the scene, moving it on the Uzbek soil. Thus, the market in the tale was replaced by the Eastern bazaar, which is full of the items like the national embroidery and embossing on metal.
Such works by M. Makhmudov like “Bakhrom and Dilorom” (1996), “Shadman, the Athlete” (2008), “The Fortune-Teller Against Her Will” (2009) are copyrighted as the Uzbek animation films.
Attention to the text and the artistic metaphors of director and animation artist – M. Makhmudov has grown with the development of the animation art. With the intensification of dialogues and their transformation into a driving force, attention to the visual expression of thoughts and ideas has increased. At the same time, active use of rhetorical means can be observed in the children’s films, and visual trend in the films for grownups. In the animated films, where more attention is paid to the visual imagery, there is a tendency to philosophical generalization through symbols.