The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev
If anyone still doubts that musical talent is hereditary, this documentary provides convincing proof. Not that a tyrannical patriarch is necessarily an ideal teacher. The success of the Tajiki ‘Jackson family’ hides many psychological, ideological and even religious tensions. The music, however, continues to impress.
It starts like a fairy tale: mega-talented Tajik boy becomes a musical hero and leader of his own family band. In Israel, the country the family (grandfather Alajev, his wife and grandchildren) moved to after the Soviet Union’s collapse, they live, rehearse and make music together under one roof.
The filmmakers follow the group at home and on tour, revealing the spectacular performances and fun family dinners, as well as the darker sides to this success story. Patriarch Alajev is a despot who interferes with everyone and everything, demanding unconditional loyalty. The women need to know their place: at home with the kids. But not everyone complies with Alajev’s laws and vagaries without putting up a fight and some – in spite of his wrath – go their own way. A path that is always accompanied by the rousing music that is the family’s heritage.