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Azerbaijan’s “Cold as Marble” Movie Wins “Best Screenplay” Award at Arctic Open Film Festival

“Mərmər soyuğu” (Cold as Marble), a movie by Azerbaijani filmmaker Asif Rustamov, has been honored with the “Best Screenplay” award of the 7th International Arctic Open Film Festival held in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

Cold as Marble, co-produced by Azerbaijan and France, by Azerbaycanfilm, Public TV, Baku Media Center and Arizona Films (France), was one of the 11 screenworks included to the full-length films section of the festival.

The main producer of the film is Arzu Aliyeva, the screenwriters are Asif Rustamov and his Dutch colleague Roelof Jan Minneboo. Director Asif Rustamov, production operators Oktay Namazov and Adil Abbasov, and production designer Rafig Nasirov. The producers are Fariz Ahmadov, Orman Aliyev, and Guillaume de Seille, and the creative producer is Irada Bagirzade.

Elshan Asgarov, Natavan Abbasli, and People’s Artist Gurban Ismayilov co-starred in the movie.

The plot of the movie is about a young man, played by Elshan Asgarov, who is actually a failed artist, potentially owing to his blindness in one eye, so he has to work as a gravestone engraver, specialising in portraits of the deceased. Another peculiar thing about him is his habit of avoiding the bedroom in his modest house, even when his married girlfriend (Natavan Abbasli) visits him. His routine changes one day when he finds an unexpected visitor who has broken into the house – his own father (Gurban Ismayilov, the winner of the Best Actor Award at the festival), who is supposed to be serving a prison sentence. The dad keeps berating the son, shouting homophobic slurs at him and trying to steer his life to bring it more into line with his own hustle schemes. However, unlike other people, the son knows his father’s dark secret and why he was imprisoned in the first place, and the girlfriend may have a scheme of her own that can be brought to fruition only with the help of a criminal. It seems that tragedy might repeat itself in yet another cycle…

The movie “Cold as Marble” had its world premiere in November 2022 at the PÖFF Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, where it was awarded in the category of “Best Actor” (Gurban Ismayilov). Besides, the movie awarded with “Best Director” (Asif Rustamov) at the 16th Eurasia International Film Festival in Almaty and main prize of the jury at the 29th International Festival of Asian Films (Festival International des Cinémas d’Asie) held in Vesoul, France.

ARCTIC OPEN screens local and international professional or first-time filmmakers, celebrating the best in Arctic-related filmmaking from across the globe.