FNE at Varna Golden Rose FF National Competition: There Was Never a Better Brother

By Pavlina Jeleva

Murad Ibragimbekov's newest film There Was Never a Better Brother is the result of the director‘s latest artistic collaboration with Maksud Ibragimbekov, one of Azerbaijan's most established writers and Murad‘s father

Starting in 1988 with One for Everybody the unique family collaboration continued with The Waltz of the Golden Calves (1993) and The Man for the Young Woman (1996) which received the bronze award at the 14th Bogota IFF and a nomination for the Russian 1997 Film Academy award for best young film director.

Telling the story of controversial relations between two brothers with different characters who happen to fall in love with the same woman, Maksud Ibragimbekov wrote his original novel There Was Never a Better Brother some thirty years ago. Declared as "dissident" by the Soviet regime the novel was adapted for film by his son in collaboration with writer Pavel Finn ten years ago. The project had to wait until the financing was completed, and finally emerged as a Russian-Bulgarian coproduction, supported with Azerbaijan public money.

Shot at the end of 2009 in Baku, Siberia and Bulgaria, the film completed postproduction at the end of 2010.

"It is obvious that the urban look of the capital of Azerbaijan today is not the same as in the 1970‘s. We had to recreate the authentic athmosphere of the time, but finding even a corner of old Baku was problematic," Murad Ibragimbekov observed. "On the other hand Baku suits me perfectly well, and with the help of good professionals and friends everything ended well."

The parts of the two brothers Simurg and Jalil are performed by actors with no Azerbaijan roots. Both Evgeny Tsyganov and Sergei Puskepalis (best actor at the 2010 Berlinale IFF, How I Ended This Summer) were born in Russia and are working in their native country. The main female role of Dilber is played by young Nina Ninidze, daughter of the famous Georgian actress Ia Ninidze.

Two Russian coproducers took part in the execution of the film: Ibrus founded in 1991 by world-famous writer and producer Rustam Ibragimbekov (Urga, Burnt by the Sun), and Central Production International Group (www.centralize-it.com).

The Bulgarian minority co-producer is Miramar with line producer Matei Konstantinov. The company received public support from the Bulgarian National Center (www.nfc.bg).

Both 2D and 3D visual special effects were executed by Ulitka (www.ulitkapost.ru) with the Bulgarian postproduction supervisor Georgy Dimitrov, art designer of Zift.

Production credits

Script: Murad Ibragimbekov, Pavel Finn (based on the novel of the same name by Maksud Ibragimbekov)

Director: Murad Ibragimbekov

DoP: Ivan Gudkov

Music: Alexei Aigui

Cast: Sergey Puskepalis, Evgeny Tsyganov, Nino Ninidze


Central Productions International (CPI) Group,


Miramar Film


Ibrus, Moscow

phone: +7 985 211 965 1

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