They Also Had Dreams. Stories of Dagestani Women

The documentary

They Also Had Dreams” is dedicated to the memory of the doctor Aishat Magomedova, a well-known public figure in Dagestan, the founder and head of the Charity Hospital for Women in Makhachkala and a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Справа на фотографии голова девочки в профиль, белый платок с вышивкой на голове, на левой руке, которой девочка придерживает платок, много колец

Doctor Aishat was deeply concerned with the situation of women living in the high-mountain villages of Dagestan, who were traditionally responsible for all the hard physical labor in the family household. At that time there were no roads, gas or water. Women had to make hay, provide their families with water, look after cattle, wash, clean, cook and take care of children. They did not have access to quality medical care.

Seeing the difficulties women faced, Aishat opened a charity hospital in Makhachkala, where women could receive free of charge medical care, psychological support or simply take a rest. In 2009, the hospital was evicted from the premises, and doctor Aishat herself soon died after a serious illness.

Over the past ten years, the conditions in the mountains have changed, but much has remained the same: in the remote villages of Dagestan there are still problems with infrastructure and access to medical care. Women are left face to face with their difficulties. The mountain woman is raised to be submissive, patient and modest – and not everybody recognizes the right of women to their personal dreams. But there is still hope: the world is changing, and the lives of young women are changing as well. And now, on the threshold of change, the help of doctor Aishat could be more useful to them than ever.

Inspired by the life and work of Aishat Magomedova, the filmmakers Alexander Fedorov and Elena Srapyan travelled around six highland districts of Dagestan and talked with women of different nationalities. The film tells their stories and dreams, and is a witness to the changes that have taken place since the time of Aishat’s hospital.

The film turned out to be very popular with the audience – hardly had we announced the screenings, when the cinemas were already out of tickets. Up to this point, the film screenings have already been held in Makhachkala, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. Now the film is finally available online and free of charge for the viewers from all over Russia. And not only Russia, as we have recently added English subtitles, in hope that the stories of Aishat Magomedova and the women from the Dagestani mountains will become visible to people from all over the world.

Name: They Also Had Dreams
Director: Alexander Fedorov
Producer: Elena Srapyan
Music: Dmitriy Romanovich & Naro
Year: 2019
Country: Russia
Running time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Genre: documentary
Language: Russian / Russian + English subtitles

The film production was supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.