While Kazakhstan, the last country of the former Soviet Union to declare its independence, presses into the future, its past lives on in the babushka (Russian for grandmother). Moved to tell their stories in the documentary Babushka, student filmmakers Abigail Hook (Harvard) and Gabi Chennisi (Rice University) followed five elderly Russian women in Kazakhstan who, having lived through the era of Soviet oppression, continue to struggle long after independence.

Chennisi and Hook became inspired to make the film when they traveled to Kazakhstan last summer to visit Hook’s mother, who lives there. The women face obstacle after obstacle, often outliving their families and being left with little recourse, as they’re essentially ignored by the government. Hook and Chennisi believe their story is worth telling. “They have lived through one of the most difficult, violent periods of history, and their resil-ience is inspirational,” Chennisi says. “When they speak of love, loss, faith and death, we can see the common threads that run between us, regardless of age or nationality.” 7 p.m. Rice Cinema, 6100 Main. For information, call 713‑348-0000 or visit Free.
Tue., April 26, 7 p.m., 2011

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