Emir Baigazin – Ranenyy angel AKA The Wounded Angel (2016)

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A godforsaken Kazakh village in the mid-1990s where four youths are trying to find their way in life. Zharas suffers because his father, an ex-con, cannot find a job. To help make ends meet the boy takes on casual work at a corn merchant’s. Balapan can sing ‘Ave Maria’ as clear as a bell but his schoolmates provoke him into using his fists rather than his voice. Zhaba roams about the village ruins looking for waste metal he can sell. He comes across three bedraggled boys of his own age who have run away from a nearby home and are sleeping in a derelict tunnel. Aslan is about to take up studies in medicine but, after having persuaded his girlfriend to have an abortion, he undergoes a complete change in personality. Continue reading

Abdulla Karsakbayev – Menya zovut kozha aka My Name is Kozha (1964)

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Koja is really a little brat nobody can tame. His mother, neighbours and even his head teacher don’t know how to deal with such a boy any more. The head teacher tells him that, unfortunately, he is not like his father who died at war. Koja makes promises, but he forgets them as soon as he leaves the head teacher’s office … “Working on a film with children should be like a game so that the shooting does not weight heavily on them. All children are by nature actors and story tellers. They simply express this penchant in more or less obvious ways. ” Abdulla Karsakbaiev
Source Festival de Vesoul, 2012
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Darezhan Omirbayev – Jol AKA The Road (2001)

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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
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Darezhan Omirbayev – Tueur à gages AKA Killer (1998)

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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

Darezhan Omirbayev – Student (2012)

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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

Sergei Bodrov & Ivan Passer – Nomad (2005)

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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