Masha Salazkina Presents “The Geography of Third World Cinema at International Film Festivals in the 1960s” – SCMS 15

While the title of Masha Salazkina’s presentation may have been “The Geography of Third World Cinema at International Film Festivals in the 1960s”, much of her concentration focused on one particular Festival during the panel “Geopolitics of Global Film Circulation: Third Cinema and the International Festival Circuit, 1960s-19070s”, chaired by Luca Caminati.

Nestled in Central Asia, the Tashkent Film Festival is somewhat of an oddity. Prefiguring a kind of political imaginary, the Tashkent Film Festival comprised itself with films from many countries within Third Cinema circles. Despite clashing ideologies, the festival welcomed films from AfroAsia and the Soviet Union, preferring to disregard the label of Third Cinema and create a forum for second and third world cinema filmmakers.

Most of the other festivals around Tashkent were often regional, limiting international reach and distribution. Despite rhetoric for establishing south-to-south connections, most filmmakers were prioritized with attending the A festivals. A dual logic was present to establish new networks outside of Western reach while displaying a need to be acknowledged by it. Alternatively, the Tashkent festival proved to be heterogeneous, despite the fact that it did not resolve  tensions associated with third world cinema.

Western scholarship has been slow to acknowledge the importance of this event. Tashkent was a site of a wide range of represented ideas, assuming a brief equilibrium during a tumultuous era. The Tashkent Film Festival’s history has yet to be written, as Salazkina concludes.

– Words by Andre Dubois