The Cage Is Looking for a Bird

Kletka ishet ptitsu

64th TIFF: Greek Premiere
In a small Chechen village, Yakha spends her days with her friend Madina, with whom she is very close. Both girls dream of leaving their homes after graduation and escaping to the real world, far from their village. Yakha’s older sister Heda also dreams of being free, but the price for this is very high – if she decides to try for a divorce, her only son will be taken away from her, according to the traditions in her culture. Mentored under Aleksandr Sokurov yet presenting a unique aesthetic vision, this young woman director gives her own definition of freedom, adopting a vocal oppositional stance against her country’s mainstream values. As it explores the deep space between tradition and modernity, and gendered reality and self-determination, this stunning debut invests in tiny gestures and evocative close-ups to discuss the constraint call for empowerment that lies inherently in perilous femininities. Loosely drawing on her family's genealogy and her personal memories of war, the filmmaker articulates her unique melancholic take on the courage it takes to refuse to build your own prison, at any cost.
Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Malika Musaeva
Script: Malika Musaeva
Cinematography: Dmitriy Nagovskiy
Editing: Vincent Deyveaux
Sound: Ivan Gusakov
Music: Murat Kabardokov
Actors: Khadizha Bataeva, Madina Akkieva, Fatima Elzhurkaeva, Rita Merzhoeva
Production: Hype Studios,
Producers: Ilya Stewart, Nikolay Yankin, Murad Osmann, Pavel Buria
Co-producers: Elizaveta Chalenko, Ilya Dzhincharadze
Costumes: Olga Smirnova
Production Design: AVESTA
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: France, Russia
Production Year: 2023
Duration: 87'
Contact: Totem Films

Malika Musaeva

Malika was born in Grozny (Chechen Republic) in 1992. During the Second Chechen War in 1999, she fled the Chechen Republic. Her family had lived in Ingushetia and Ukraine, before emigrating to Germany. In 2003 Malika returned to Russia and lived in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria. After graduating from school in 2010, Malika enrolled in the Kabardino-Balkarian State University named after H.M. Berbekov, to the directorial workshop of Alexander Sokurov. She received a degree in Directing at the Hamburg Media School. In Hamburg, Malika directed two short films. In 2021, she directed her first feature film. She is currently residing and working in Germany.


2013 Slightly Opening the Door (short)
2014 The Tower of the Silence (short)
2016 Minor Guilty (short)
2017 Angst
2018 I Can Stand (short)
2022 The Cage is Looking for a Bird