Uzbekistan: The authorities circumvented a French and German film show at the Museum of Cinematograph in Tashkent
An event organized by the Hugo Center (France) was the first to be circumvented at the Museum of Cinematograph in Tashkent. Days of German Cinematograph were treated at the facility in a similar manner barely twenty-four hours later. This treatment is attributed to the sudden attention to the Museum of Cinematograph from the police and firefighting service that banned "mass events" without permit from the powers-that-be and sealed the projection booth.
Oleg Karpov - chief of Museum of Cinematograph (Tashkent)
One Uktam Rakhmatov of the police (mass event security division) turned up at the premises of the Museum of Cinematograph shortly before the run of a film by Robert Cohen on December 11. Rakhtamov told organizers of the event "to close down the shop" and referred to a resolution of the Cabinet adopted five years previously. Cultural attache of the Embassy of France in Uzbekistan could only bow to the inevitable. "That's sad indeed," was all he could say.
As the regulations go, whatever movie theater has over 100 seats in it should be guarded by the police whose services are to be paid for by organizers of the event. With all 190 seats occupied, services of the police would have cost organizers several thousand dollars. According to the Cabinet Resolution No 15 (January 3, 2003), Museum of Cinematograph management must approach the Tashkent khokimiyat (administration) for permit at least 10 days before the event. Right before the event itself, all of the premises should be examined by dogs trained to sniff out explosives, sanitary specialists, firefighters, and so on. Also importantly, all films scheduled for the run should first be submitted to the Uzbek Movie National Agency and examined there for pornography and violence. (It was the Uzbek Movie National Agency that issued the Museum of Cinematograph the license in the first place.)
Along with films by Cohen, Tashkent residents will be denied all of the French Video-Art program put together by the Embassy of France. Days of German Cinematograph on the premises of the Museum of Cinematograph are also cancelled. German partners chose premises of the small Goethe Institute instead.
Other events scheduled at the Museum of Cinematograph are in jeopardy too. The 12th VideoART.uz festival is one of them.
The Museum of Cinematograph is as good as paralyzed. Its shutdown will become a major loss for the local intelligentsia and a blow at the image of Tashkent. Very many both in Uzbekistan and abroad keep regarding it as a center of culture - probably out of habit.
Managed by Oleg Karpov, the Museum of Cinematograph has lasted without trouble all of five years. This is the only center in all of Uzbekistan where masterpieces of cinematograph are regularly run. Foreign partners focus their attention on the Museum of Cinematograph more and more frequently.
According to Karpov, problems with the authorities are usually encountered on the eve of events arranged together with foreign humanitarian and diplomatic missions.