HotDocs ’24: Streets Loud with Echoes

Directed by Katerina Suvorova, Streets Loud with Echoes begins with the death of Denis Ten, the first ever Kazakhstani figure skater to win a medal. When he is murdered in his home country, the sudden loss of their hero begins the seeds of revolution. After unrest begins to shake the doors of the government, Suvorova follows two activists – Assem and Dimash – who are willing to lead the charge for change.

The most fascinating aspect of Echoes is the way that we watch this develop from the beginning. With the death of Ten, the increase in support feels gradual but powerful. Slowly but surely, the movement from two becomes that of many and, all of a sudden, real change actually seems possible. Oftentimes, documentaries of this nature find themselves speaking backwards to the events that led to the revolution. However, Suvorova’s film unfolds in real time, revealing a nation rising up against the powers that be.

What’s more, Suvorova has found a truly compelling dynamic between Assem and Dismash. While both are compelled towards the same vision, both differ in attitude and direction. In these moments, Echoes presents an interesting question. After all, with so many people wanting freedom, the opinions of what that means practically often differs across the board. Even so, the two are so committed to their end goal that they remain determined to battle through their own squabbles along the way.

But the truly stirring part of of Suvorova’s film is the way that Echoes leans into the future. With every protest and rally, Echoes makes its cry out for the world to be different for the next generation. In this way, Suvorova fights, not only for herself, but also for the children who are growing up under oppression in Kazakhstan. Yes, change is something that they desire for today. But, mostly, this is a film that yearns for things to be different tomorrow. 

Because, if real change is achieved, it will Echo for many generations to come.

Streets Loud with Echoes is playing at Hot Docs ’24. For more information, click here.

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