Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Magnus Gertten

Thriller-like, emotional documentary about Uzbek woman Dilya, who never loses hope fighting for the release of her imprisoned brother Iskandar. Living in exile in Sweden, the frighteningly long arms of the Uzbek dictatorship still reach her, while she is confronted with the deepest of betrayals.

‘I have devoted my life to revealing the true face of the regime’, Dilya says. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Dilya’s home country Uzbekistan traded one dictatorship for another. President Karimov built an ‘empire of violence’ in which many people are imprisoned on false terrorism charges. One of the prisoners is Dilya’s brother Iskandar. He confessed to a series of bombings after being tortured and threatened that his mother and sister would be tortured and raped.

Now that Iskandar is held in the notorious Jaslyk Prison, where no visitors are allowed and where torture is widespread, Dilya and her parents have lost all contact with him. Living in exile in Sweden with her parents, Dilya never stops searching, desperate for any information about Iskandar’s situation. When she marries Anvar, she thinks she found an ally in her fight for her brother’s freedom. But Anvar isn’t the man he said he was, and the betrayal goes extremely deep.


Magnus Gertten
Country of production
Sweden, Norway
98 minutes
Spoken language
English, Uzbek
World Sales
Cat & Docs