Yerzhanov is a strong voice of the new Kazakh cinema.
When a young mayor arrives in Karatas, a remote village in Kazakhstan, he finds a large part of the population ill. He recognises the symptoms immediately as plague-related. The sufferers, however, insist they have the flu, and that is confirmed by the local authorities, who have for decades pocketed the money for vaccination programmes and let the deadly illness rage on. The newly-appointed mayor resists at first, but is slowly dragged down into a morass of corruption and abuse of power. Like the film The Owners shown at Cannes, Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s latest film is an indictment of the lawless practices in today’s Kazakhstan, which is understandably known as the ‘Wild East’. His approach is very theatrical. He presents his message in a Brechtian way. The sets are surrealist, the acting is alienating, the undertone mythical. The moral, however, is highly contemporary and crucial. Winner NETPAC Award 2016.
Adilkhan YERZHANOV was born in the Jezkazgan region of Kazakhstan. He was educated as a filmmaker at the Kazakhstan National Academy of Arts. After this, he continued studying in New York thanks to a scholarship. He has made several shorts and features, among which The Owners (2014), which premiered at Cannes and was subsequently screened and awarded at many film festivals all over the world. His new film The Plague at the Karatas Village (2016) has its world premiere in Rotterdam.
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