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 undertakes studies in economics. But the twenty-three-year-old man's interest is elsewhere and, while being passionate about photography, he decides to join the film department of the Nalchik University founded and directed by Alexander Sokurov. There, he directs three short films, including the documentary Andriouchka (2014) and Me first (2015), his graduation work. His first feature film, Closeness, inspired by a real news item (the kidnapping of a fiancée on the eve of her wedding. 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. His second feature, Beanpole, even more ambitious in that it is a period drama, set in Leningrad in 1945, is the riveting account of the friendship binding two women trying hard to re-adapt to civilian life. This major work won the Best Direction Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain regard section.