Aral, Fishing in an Invisible Sea 0+

Saodat Ismailova, Carlos Casas, Uzbekistan - Italy 2004, 52 min

In the last few decades the Aral Sea has lost over 80 % of its surface area. This is due in large part to the poor administration of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers by the Soviet government in the first half of the twentieth century. In the Uzbek village of Moynak, once located on the banks of the Aral Sea, there is today only a polluted wasteland with a few grassy shallows containing the last remaining fish. A majority of the local population has already been forced to move to neighboring Kazakhstan, as fishing in Moynak was the primary, and very nearly only, source of livelihood. This film by Carlos Casas and Saodat Ismail is an intimate portrait of three generations of one family ekeing out a living near what remains of the Aral Sea. "I cannot imagine that grandfather's stories of an immense sea, which was sailed on by great ships, are based on the truth," says little Janibek Anuarov, who with his father tries day after day to catch at least a few fish for dinner in the frozen shallows. The tight style of filming utilizes long shots which, combined with the disturbing music of A.R. Mutti, faithfully reflect the bleak situation of the locals. Even if in the last few years the level of water in the Aral Sea has slightly increased, according to estimates it will almost certainly disappear by the year 2010.


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