Uzbeki Jones and the temple of cool
IThe Desert of Forbidden Art, documentary, not rated, in English and Russian with subtitles, The Screen, 4 chiles A collection of artwork by little-known Russian artists is amassed by a failed painter in an obscure location in western Uzbekistan — hardly the most engrossing ingredients for a feature film. But The Desert of Forbidden Art, a documentary by filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev, rises to the occasion.
Combine a bit of Hitchcockian intrigue with the adventure of a Spielberg movie set in an exotic location, and for 80 minutes you’re swept up in a real-life art drama far removed from the niceties of Canyon Road. The film tells the story of the Nukus museum of Russian avant-garde art in Karakalpakstan — an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan — which includes pieces by some of the most visionary Russian artists who worked during Stalin’s regime. The work was secretly collected by artist and archaeologist Igor Savitsky. Using archival footage and recent interviews with artists’ family members, the film reveals how Savitsky single-handedly accomplished the audacious act of saving a legacy of artistic achievement from the scrapheap.