The Seventh Bullet | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 80 minutes · 1974

Adventure, War, Western
Uzbek director Ali Khamraev enjoyed his greatest success with this 1972 action movie, a prime example of the "Red westerns" that flourished during the Soviet era. With its dramatic landscapes and tense psychological struggles, the movie might pass for one of the classic Hollywood westerns of Budd Boetticher and Anthony Mann, except that the antagonists here are not cowboys and Indians but valiant soldiers of the Red Army and savage Islamists of the Basmachi Rebellion, which unfolded in Central Asia after the Russian Revolution. The hero is a Soviet officer, assigned to a village in the mountains of Uzbekistan, who returns from an expedition to learn that a fearsome rebel leader has slaughtered several locals and indoctrinated the rest; the officer sets off in hot pursuit, confident that he can win back the villagers by schooling them in the glories of communism. The movie is impressive as genre filmmaking, though ultimately—like many of our westerns—it's most fascinating as an expression of state power. In Russian with subtitles.
Director: Ali Khamrayev
Cast: Suimenkul Chokmorov, Bolot Bejshenaliyev, Talgat Nigmatulin, Dilorom Kambarova, Inogam Adylov, Melis Abzalov, Khamza Umarov, Nurmukhan Zhanturin and Bakhtiyer Ikhtiyarov

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