Some parents choose movies and entertainment from their own childhood to share with their children because they think about them as the kindest and the most beautiful stories that were ever told. Others may enjoy the modern-day movies and stories and even wonder how one can compare the highest quality of products by the Disney studio to old Soviet movies. We, adults, belive that our children have to know what we watched and enjoyed when we were like them. Let’s go back to our chldhood together with our children!
This material was reprinted from the FamTram official site (famtram.az) and translated in order to invite you to a journey, where you can remember the good old Azerbaijani children’s movies and films.
“I compose a song” – 1979 year of production (in Azerbaijani – «Mən mahnı bəstələyirəm»)
This movie is a story of a little girl from beautiful village in Karabakh, she has a beautiful voice and everyday comes up with new melodies and songs that arise in her imagination. So, here is the story. One day, a representative of a music boarding school in the region capital arrives at one of Azerbaijani villages in Karabakh to source for talented children. He finds help in a local aksakal (elder) and the musician-kamancha player Bahman Dayi (uncle). There are many children in the village, but the most talented of them is the 10-year-old daughter of the miller, everybody’s favorite, the sweet-voiced Sona. They are ready to enroll her in the school without any trials, but her father is adamant against the idea – he does not want Sona to become a singer. All the persuasions are in vain. Will Sona have chanve to sing?
“Stepmother” («Ögey ana»)
In one of Azerbaijani villages, where Ismail lives, Ismail’s father decides to marry and bring a new wife, Dilara, who is a doctor. Dilara has a daughter Jamilia who is Ismail’s age-mate and now is becoming his stepsister. Ismail is a boy that is well-known in his village for his naughtiness and mischiefs.. He teases Jamilia all the time and does not like his stepmother. But he starts to hate her even more, when Dilara shows Ismail’s father his school diary, which is full of alarming entries and unsatisfied grades. Later on, Dilara figures out how to earn Ismayil’s trust and found way to his heart. The film is about this passways that two characters – little Ismayil and Dilara – go through to find way to each other’s hearts.
Recommendations for the class activities
- Show snippets of the movie in class (available clips are in Azerbaijani language), but ask kids to describe the scene and what they noticed that are some of the actions.
- What are the morals from the stories?
- Can you identify the time or period when the movie was produced?
- What are some of the significant events in Azerbaijan of that time?
“I remember you, teacher” / “Our Jabish Teacher” («Bizim Cəbiş müəllim»)
Magsud Ibrahimbeyov bases the film on “The 1001st Night of War” a well-known story in Azerbaijan. This touching movie speaks of the fate of a schoolteacher in Baku during the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945. Jabish-Teacher, as he was fondly called, wanted to volunteer for frontline duty, but was forced to stay, as he was unfit to serve due to his bad eyesight. But he still managed to help the fighters. The moral of the story is that irrespective of our disabilities or disadvantaged positions, we can always find a purpose to accomplish something.
“Asif, Vasif, Agasif” («Asif, Vasif, Ağasif»)
The movie was released in 1983 by Rasim Ismailov, one of the well-known movie director of that time. The movie pictired the characters of three little brothers, whose mother didn’t want to put them into kindergarten.
The little brothers in the movie spend all their time together and understand each other without even speaking. Nevertheless, they too sometimes get into little quarrels, as each one of them wants to seem more grownup and be in charge over the others. The boys can turn anything, even the simplest of activities, into a full-fledged exciting adventure. At the same time, they are extremely busy taking all sorts of classes, such as acrobatics, English, music and swimming, as their mother tries to make each day vibrant and efficient for them. Despite these, her sons still show similar traits as their age-mates and are not always obedient. At the final the parents realized that there were three confident and smart boys growing up in their family and sent them to kindergarten so that they could have opportunity to socialize among their peers.
“Black Girl” («Qaraca Qız»)
This is a very interesting movie directed by Shamil Mahmudbeyov and Rufat Shabanov, filmed at “Azerbaijan Film” studio. The film talks about the tragic life of a brave and kind orphan girl, Tutu. Little Tutu’s parents died as a result of an earthquake and some strolling gypsy-garachi actors picked her up. She soon becomes a part of their world, the world of music and acting. While her adoptive father shows stunts with a bear, Tutu dances, but once, when her drunk father angers the bear, it kills him. The movie has a bit of tragedy in it, but Tutu was able to pick herself up despite the misfortune that befalls her family.
“The Magic Robe” («Sehirli xalat»)
The famous magician Io-Kio visits some pioneers on a holiday and gives them “a magic” robe. While wearing the robe, one can travel both to the past and the future. The film talks of the incredible adventures of schoolchildren Rashid and Zarifa, when they try the “magic” robe on.
“Secret of a Fortress” («Bir Qalanin Sirri»)
People called the fortress of the cruel tyrant Simnar Khan a “bloody fortress” for all the crimes, committed within its walls. Simnar Khan took away peasants’ lands and did not give them an extra drop of water. His vizier spread rumors that the rock with water within, was in fact a monstrous bewitched dragon, who would turn everyone who dared touch the water, into stone. Scientist Eldostu had worked for many hours to invent a composition that would manage to dissolve the rock. He and his student Metanet dreamt of the day, when people would finally get water and with it, life itself. Metanet picked thousands of herbs and Eldostu studied hundreds of books before their composition was finally ready. When Simnar Khan found out about this, he imprisoned Eldostu in his “bloody fortress”. But Eldostu would not give the secret away.
Metanet was confronted, but she also kept silent. Enraged, the vizier turned her into stone. The hands of the scientist, who had done so much for people, were also rendered impotent. Craftsman Elshan was in love with Metanet. It was was said that he has the strength of the legendary Farhad. No rocks, dragons, not even Simnar and his vizier could withstand his pickaxe. Seeing what had happened, his love for the beautiful Metanet increased his strength tenfold. The impregnable rock vanished, the huge dragon went away, and the boisterous and translucent waters refreshed the exhausted soils, bringing with it joy to all people.
“Lion Runs Away From Home” («Şir Evdən Getdi»)
An ordinary African lion lived in a zoo in Azerbaijan. He lived in a cage and was fed with raw meat every day. The guests at the zoo admired his fancy look. But, this was no ordinary lion at all, as he understood human language, loved children and was very smart overall. He was treated well, the zoo was his home and it would seem there was nothing else he would want. Nevertheless, the lion had been thinking of the lands, where his ancestors roamed free. Africa! People tell so many amazing things about that place! Africa is beautiful, always sunny and there he has a family, animals that look just like him. The lion decided to break free from the zoo to try and reach his true motherland. But was he right to do so? Will a wild animal, who grew up in the city and is not accustomed to the challenges of an independent life, can he adapt to another way of living? Nevertheless, our hero took the risk and went away on his journey.
“Shared Bread” («Şərikli çörək»)
The move is set towards the end of the Great Patriotic War. Vagif, a boy in one of the neighborhoods in Baku, is left alone at home for a couple of days. He has lost his bread tickets. He has to carry water for his neighbors and sell water at the open market to earn enough for a piece of bread. Vagif loses a loved one. But through all the challenges the boy had to face, his friends were there to support and share their last piece of bread with him.
Recommended class activities.
Keywords to remember: entertainment, melody, imagination, representatives, boarding school, miller, mischief, stepmother, accomplish, disability, quarrels, tragedy, accustomed, incredible, ancestors, adoptive, impregnable, ordinary.
Questions to students
- In which year was “I compose a song” produced?
- What is the name of the Azerbaijani village where the movie was set?
- What is the name of the main character?
- What special and outstanding talent does she have?
- How old was she when she was spotted for her talents?
- What happened after Ismail’s mother passed away?
- Who are Ismail’s stepmother and stepsister?
- What well-known story was the movie “I remember you, teacher” based on?
- Why couldn’t Jabish-Teacher enroll into the army?
- Which movie was released in 1983?
- Who were the directors of the movie “Black Girl”?
- What is the name of the girl in the movie Black Girl?
- Who is the villain in the movie “Secrets of a Fotress” and who is the hero?
- Explain to the class the process of producing a movie. Define some of the key terms: actors, producers, directors, photographers, cast, scenes, settings, soundtrack, script, and effects.
- Explain a tragedy and a comedy. Ask the class to write two stories, one with a tragic ending and another with a comedic ending.
- Project: ask the kids to write a short story that they will adapt into a movie. Or students should take photos of different scenes and activities and put them together to tell a story through a movie.