A filmmaker arrives at a crossroads in his life and his art when he learns his mother may be dying in this drama with comedic overtones from director Darezhan Omirbaev. Amir Kobessov (Djamshed Usmonov) is a well-respected filmmaker from Kazakhstan who, both professionally and personally, is suffering from a crisis of confidence. Amir is beginning to wonder if audiences are still interested in his work, and he has a recurring nightmare in which his latest premiere is scotched in favor of a low-budget chop-socky epic. At home, Amir and his wife are not getting along, and both are struggling to keep their marriage afloat. When Amir receives word that his mother is seriously ill, he hops in his car and sets out to visit her in the small village where he was born; along the way, Amir finds himself examining his past as he tries to come to terms with an uncertain future. Jol was screened as part of the Un Certain Regard series at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Darezhan Omirbaev (Kairat, Kardiogramma) directed this French-Kazakh film about a young man driven to the precipice in an uncaring world. Marat (Talgat Assetov) works as a chauffeur for a well-known scientist. Driving home from the maternity hospital with his wife Aijan (Roksana Abouova) and their new baby boy, Marat is at fault during a minor traffic accident. The damage payments on both cars put him in debt. Unable to cover costs when the baby gets sick, Marat finds it necessary to follow a gangster’s bidding to murder a journalist. Shown in the Certain Regard Section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading
The film is based on “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Action takes place in modern Kazakhstan. The film’s protagonist is The Student whose major at the university is philosophy. He rents a basement room from an old woman living in the suburbs and suffers from a permanent lack of money and loneliness. The Student is stressed by the surrounding atmosphere of poverty and the ideology of total survival competition, the division of people into rich and poor, strong and weak… Influenced by all these, The Student decides to rob the nearest convenience store where he buys some bread time to time… Continue reading
18th century Kazakhstan, a vast, pitiless region of austere and terrible beauty, bordered by China, Russia and Tibet. Here the proud and warlike Kazakh tribes have survived and fought for centuries – against invaders, against their formidable Jungar enemies and amongst themselves.
Oraz, a mystic and warrior possessed of great powers, foretells the birth of a new star, a hero. This boy -Mansur – is destined to unite the Kazakhs, and lead them to glorious victory against their enemies. Fearful of Oraz’ prediction, the Jungar ruler Galdan orders his General, Sharish, to find the child and slay him. However, Oraz saves Mansur and delivers him to his father, Sultan Wali. Continue reading
Kyz-Zhibek – Kazakh poetic folk legend of the 16th century, tells about the period in the Kazakh nation when the people suffered from bloody feuds. In those times each province of the Kazakh nation had its own Khan and each tried to supersede the other. The love story of Tolegen, the brave warrior, and the beauty Zhibek ends tragically because of inter-family strife. Tolegen is foully murdered by Bekejan (the batyr, or nobleman, of the rival family), who earlier strived for the hand of Zhibek. Zhibek commits suicide after learning about the death of Tolegen.
16 variants of the legend exist in different parts of Kazakhstan.
In 1934 opera “Kyz-Zhibek” was staged in Abay Opera House (music – Eugeny Brusilovsky, libretto – Gabit Musrepov).
In 1970 Kazakhfilm made film based on the legend.
In 1988 the poem was translated into Russian by Kazakh poet Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov. Continue reading
Kairat, the first feature film from „Kazakh new wave“ film director Darezhan Omirbaev, tells the story of a young man from a village in Kazakh steppe and his initiation into life in the big city.
Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan, 1991; 72m
“This 34-year-old filmmaker has invented an entire universe,” wrote Jean-Michel Frodon in Le Monde, and he was right. Darezhan Omirbaev may well have been inspired by Bresson and Hitchcock, but he has indeed created his very own universe in the five films he’s made since the late 80s. The disconnected events of his films are simple – a boy travelling on a train from the steppe to the city, riding on a bus, going to a movie and brushing bare arms with his date, wandering through a train yard. But every form, every movement, every gesture seems to have found its precise poetic place, and the emotional terrain contained within his first feature feels as vast as an ocean. Kairat is the name of Omirbaev’s autobiographically inspired hero, who moves through life exactly as many of us do when we’re adolescents – awkwardly, in bewildered confusion, guarding a wealth of emotions deep within us like a buried treasure. One of the best films of the 90s. Continue reading
This visually stunning Kazakh movie tells a tragic tale of absent and misplaced compassion. A young orphan rescues an orphaned wolf cub and lavishes considerable affection on it. His uncle, believing that this “softness” will result in the boy’s being unable to endure the rigors of life on the Kazakh steppes, savagely beats the cub in front of the boy. By the time the grown wolf is released into the wild, it has grown extremely ferocious and it returns and attacks the boy, perhaps because it perceives him as being weak, just as the boy’s uncle did. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi