The history of Azerbaijani cinema begins on August 2, 1898. The first films consisted of chronicles shot by photographer and prose writer AMMishon (“Oil Fountain Fire in Bibiheybat”, “Oil Fountain in Balakhani”, “People’s Walk in the City Park”, “Caucasian Dance”, etc.) and a feature film (“Ilishdin”). was.
The film “Oil Fountain Fire in Bibiheybat”
In 1915, joint-stock companies (trading houses) opened by the Pirone brothers in the Caucasus established rental offices in Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan. In 1915, the society started shooting the first Azerbaijani feature film of the same name based on M. Musabayov’s novel “In the realm of oil and millions” with the money of oil industrialists.
The film “Arshin mal alan”
Director BN Svetlov from St. Petersburg was invited to make the film. Nature scenes were shot in Baku and surrounding villages, and scenes related to the pavilion were filmed in Tbilissi (Georgia). H. Arablinsky played the role of Lutfali Bey in the film. In 1916, the first Azerbaijani comedy based on U. Hajibeyov’s operetta “Arshin mal alan” was shot in Baku. In 1919, a full-length film entitled “Celebration of the anniversary of Azerbaijan’s independence” was shown on the screens. In 1923, the Azerbaijan Photo-Cinema Department (AFKI) was established. AFKI carried out measures to nationalize and merge individual entrepreneurs’ photo, cinema and rental offices. At that time, AFKI also had “Plane”, “Edison”, “Million”, “Ladya”, “Miner” and other cinemas in Baku.
In 1924, AFKI released a two-part feature film, The Legend of the Maiden Tower (directed by VV Vallyuzek). In this ethnographically interesting film, the authors could not escape the exotics of the East. In 1925, on the initiative of Sh. Mahmudbeyov, a studio was established at AFKI to train national directors and actors in Azerbaijan. J. Jabbarli, M. Mikayilov, A. Tahirov and others studied here.
In order to improve the artistic quality of films, to assist in the development of national cadres, famous film directors such as VI Pudovkin, IA Sevchenko, NM Shengelaya, ME Chiaureli, as well as G.M. Lemdeg, V.R. Lemke, AV Galperin, IS Frolov, AM Feldman, LL Kosmatov, VM Schneider and other cinematographers were invited, J. Jabbarli, AM Sharifzade and others were involved in filmmaking. AFKI later published “Azdovletkino” (1926-1930), “Azerkino” (1930-1933), “Azfilm” (1933), “Azdovletsanayesi” (1934), “Azerfilm” (1935-1940), “Baku Film Studio” (1941- 1959), since 1961 it has been called “Azerbaijanfilm” film studio named after J. Jabbarli.
The struggle against superstition and ignorance, the revolution, women’s freedom were the main themes of Azerbaijani cinema in the 1920s. “Bismillah” (1925, directors AM Sharifzade, A. Valovo), “House on the Volcano” (1929, director AI Bek-Nazarov, together with “Armenianino”), “Haji Gara” (1929, director AM Sharifzade) Sevil (1929, directed by AI Bek-Nazarov) is one of the most successful films of that period.
In the 1920s, local cinematographers and representatives of foreign film companies made newsreels and documentaries about life in the city and oil fields in Baku. In 1920, the first chronicle film magazine “Official transition of 9 Golden Hordes in Baku” was shot. In the same year, the chronicle film “The First Congress of the Peoples of the East” was made. In the following years, film reports on certain events were prepared: “3rd anniversary of Soviet Azerbaijan” (1923), “Fire in Surakhani oil fields” (1923), “Funeral of Nariman Narimanov” (1925), “Arrival of M. Frunze in Baku” (1925) and others. . In addition to documentaries, the production of popular science films began.
In 1925, the director AM Sharifzadeh completed the shooting of the film “Journey to Azerbaijan” about the cultural and economic life of the republic. In the 1920s, along with historical and documentary films, the Azerbaijan Screen film magazine (4-5 issues per year) was launched to acquaint the audience with the achievements of the young republic in economic and cultural life. During these years, talented directors such as M.Mikayilov, A.A.Litvinov, A.A.Makovsky, operators such as VPLemke, A.Valovoy, A.Tolchan, ISTartakovsky, ISMonakov worked in the Azerbaijani documentary cinema. In 30 years BVPumyanski, S.Badalov, V.Yeremeyev, A.Hasanov, A.Alakbarov and others worked in this field. began to operate.
The film “Bakılılar”
In the films of these artists, the life of the republic in the first five years, the construction of collective farms, successes in the field of culture, equipping the oil industry with new equipment, etc. was reflected. Attempts to create an exhausted human image within the capabilities of the documentary are among the artistic achievements of that period. In the early 1930s, films were made on modern life, depicting life in an artistic way, as well as historical and revolutionary themes: “Latif”, “Ismet” (1930, 1934, directed by M. Mikayilov), “Diamond” and “New Horizon”. ”(1936, 1940, directors A.Guliyev, G.M.Braginski),“ Baku people ”(1938, director VVTurin),“ Peasants ”(1940, director S.Mardanov) and others.