St. Moritz Art Film Festival


Saodat Ismailova

2022 Color PG UZ/en 00:37:00

Chillahona (room of quarantine from Persian) are the underground cells, for practicing self-isolation and meditation often built next to the tombs of local saints in Central Asia. Chillahona of the saint Sheikh Zeinitdin is situated within the oldest cemetery of Tashkent and represents the only active existing example. The visitors come to chillahona in a search of healing of personal traumas when rational approach cannot help. Many women visit Chillahona hoping to receive a blessing of fertility. 

Built in the shape of different sized domes that are situated over each other, the structure consists of three levels, which are mirrored by the three channels of the film. 

The lowest level – the intimate cell is totally isolated from external sound and light.  Naturally balanced temperature under earth brings thoughts on birth and death, womb and grave into equivalent state. For many visitors it is a place to exorcise once fears and memories.  Chillahona was actively visited by locals in the years of perestroika.

Saodat Ismailova