The Island Within
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    The Island Within

    Unutrašnje ostrvo

    Directed by

    Azerbaijan, France


    79 min

    • Azerbaijani


    Scope Expanded - 2022 Academy Award Submissions for Best International Feature

    Seymour Tahirbekov is an international chess grandmaster from Azerbaijan. Having won the Candidates Tournament, Seymour earns the right to challenge the defending world champion Skroten Gudmonson in the World Chess Championship match. With a few weeks left before the championship match, Seymour’s psychological and emotional state deteriorates under escalating abuse and pressure to succeed by any means. News of his grandfather’s death is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and Seymour runs away. Anticipating an international scandal, his father Khanlar turns to the National Security Department for help in finding his son. In the meantime, Seymour arrives on an island of Kür Dili that his grandfather had once told him about. On the island, inhabited mostly by feral horses and cows, he encounters its only human resident – an old man. Distant and skeptical of each other at first, the two loners gradually warm up to each other forming an unlikely bonding. Seymour takes control of his freedom, however time keeps running out: the World Chess Championship match is just around the corner, as is the National Security Department…


    • Azerbaijan's Official Submission to the 94th Academy Awards
    • Best Director - Saravejo FF



    Orkhan Ata
    Vidadi Hasanov
    Gurban Ismayilov
    Elvin Adigozel
    Ru Hasanov
    Orkhan Abbasoff
    Orkhan Abbasoff
    Ru Hasanov
    Farhad Farzali
    Katya Yonder


    Ru Hasanov

    Ru Hasanov


    I think both cinema and chess, they in one way or another reflect life. You have to be both tactically and strategically thinking.

    Born in 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan, he graduated from Bates College (USA) in 2009 with a BA in Theater and pursued MFA at the High Courses for Screenwriters and Directors in Moscow. He worked for Vice Media in New York City and Dozhd Television Channel in Moscow as director of promo content. He edited over a dozen award-winning films. His feature debut with CHAMELEON (2013), co-directed with Elvin Adigozel, was selected at Locarno FF's Cineasti Del Presente section. His latest film THE ISLAND WITHIN (2020) was selected at the 26th Sarajevo FF.

    Selected Filmography