Born in 1991 in Nalchik, capital of the Autonomous Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, in the North Caucasus, Kantemir Balagov leaves the city for Stavropol where he starts studying economics. But he interrupts them at age 23 to join the film department of the Nalchik University founded and directed by Alexander Sokurov. There, he directed three short films, including the documentary "Andriouchka" (2014) and "Me first" (2015), his graduation film. His first feature film, "Tesnota"
(Closeness), inspired by a real news item (the kidnapping of a fiancée on the eve of her wedding), stands out for its bitter, very personal style and its sense of space (everything is cramped, as the subtitle indicates). This atypical film has earned him the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes in 2017 as well as the Grand Jury Prize and the Award for Best Actress at the Premiers Plans Film Festival in Angers in 2018.
In 2019, Balagov's "Beanpole"
won the Directing Prize of Un Certain Regarg Programme at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival, and also a FIPRESCI Prize.