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Coastside Film Society presents The Desert of Forbidden Art 2013-03-15  7:30pm ($8)

Videos:The Desert of Forbidden Art

Coastside Film Society

Community United Methodist Sanctuary 777 Miramontes St., Half Moon Bay

The Desert of Forbidden Art


A tale that is stranger than fiction several times over. Viewers of this remarkable documentary will be astonished at not only what this art looks like and why it's forbidden, but also where it is and how it got there. Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Nukus is a remote capital deep inside Uzbekistan, a Central Asian country where water is scarce and 120-degree weather is common an unlikely location for one of the world's greatest avant-garde art collections. How the collection came to be there makes for a fascinating story. It took filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev six years to get access to the collection, to shoot all the film needed to illustrate this remarkable collection, and to capture all the interviews needed to tell the story of the remarkable man who was able to create this artistic oasis in the remote Uzbek outback.

It began when Uzbekistan was still part of the Soviet Union, and modern art and artists were being harshly condemned by Stalin and the state. Wannabe artist Igor Savitsky came to Uzbekistan as part of an archeological expedition, and found himself surrounded by talented Soviet artists hiding out in the Uzbek outback to get away from Soviet persecution. Realizing he could never produce work as beautiful as what he was seeing, he redirected his passion to collecting the forbidden art he loved. In time his collection grew to over 40,000 pieces housed in the “folk art museum he talked the state into founding.

Unfortunately, this vast collection that took a lifetime for Savitsky to gather has fallen on hard times the victim of inadequate storage practices during leean times and a renewed hostility to modern art by the Islamic extremists who are gradually taking over the rule of the county. Once again, life is precarious for this great collection.

The Desert of Forbidden Art provides a dramatic examination of the power of art against forces of repressive tyranny. It is a fascinating work that will ennoble art lovers, students of Russian history, and anyone who believes in the power of culture. Phil Hall,