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Circassian Film: The Man from Psibe Village, Shapsughia

3 Views· 04/08/24
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Documentary film “The Man from Psibe Village” on the Circassian settlement of Psibe in Shapsughia in westernmost Circassia, made in 1972.

Director: Gennady Kraskov
Operator: Yuri Musatov
Produced by: Rostov Newsreel Studio
Year: 1972

The film is about the work of the rural postman X’useyn Achmiz (Ацумыжъ), a resident of the Circassian village of Psebe (Псыбэ [Psibe], in Circassian), “in the Adigean Autonomous Oblast”. It depicts the life in a (Shapsugh) Circassian village in the early 1970s. Although the village Psebe is billed as being in the Adigean Autonomous Oblast, it is actually in the Shapsugh Region, to the north of the town of Tuapse. Psibe (Псыбэ) literally means “Water Abundant” in Circassian. It has a population of a few hundreds, mainly Circassians. The number of villagers has been decreasing in the past few decades.

It is hoped that the Shapsugh Region would be joined to the Republic of Adigea for the benefit of both the Adigeans and Shapsugh. Adigea would then have access to the Black Sea, and the Shapsugh would benefit from the Circassian language and culture institutions in Adigea, which would stem the rising tide of assimilation.

Scenes:

• Postman X’useyn Achmiz travels with his horse across the Shapsugh countryside. He knows every nook and cranny in this ancient land of the Shapsugh Circassians.
• View of the Psibe village in the Shapsugh Region (in westernmost Circassia).
• The postman goes through the village, handing out letters and telegrams to villagers.
• The villagers are dancing, talking.
• Pioneers lay flowers at the monument to those killed in the Great Patriotic War (World War II).
• New-born baby is blessed by the elders, in accordance with ancient Circassian customs.
• Postman Achmiz takes part in “sch’ihafi” [«шIыхьафы»], an ancient Circassian custom whereby the residents of a village assemble to build or fix a house for or needy family on a voluntary basis.
• Postman hands a woman a “talking letter”. She listens to it on a record-player. “I am alive and kicking, and doing alright. My work is also going well! ...”
• Road construction near Psibe connecting to Adigea. Cars drive on the road.
• View of the village Psebe.
• Postman X’useyn Achmiz travelling on a treacherous mountain path.

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