I have recently been watching a television series entitled The Story of Film. It’s currently available for streaming on the SBS on demand platform. So as I was about to watch an episode I decided to browse around, and I stumbled across this film, The Light Thief. It’s the first film I’ve ever seen from Kyrgyzstan. Truth be told, I hadn’t even heard of that country, that’s perhaps why this film grabbed my attention! In short I am glad that I stumbled across it.
The story to this film seems simple enough, we meet a man who ‘helps’ his local village ‘get’ electricity, and hence he is affectionally called Mr. Light. His heroic efforts are uncovered by the authorities, and here we are, about to discover more about this man, his family and the culture that surrounds him. There are various layers of complexity to this film, for those that are interested in deeper thought. The moral issues versus reality and the law, conflict our main protagonist. In addition the relationship strains that he faces make this film slightly more emotional that your average Hollywood offering, but at the same time you get a sense of hope, equating to hopefully, a smile!
Aktan Abdykalykov directed/wrote and is also Mr. Light in this film. An ambitious man, to say the least. His performance is very natural and poised, plus every scene in this film, almost every frame is telling us something. There are a lot of visual metaphors and symbolism. The cinematography for this film is a delight to behold, rural Kyrgyzstan seems to be captured with rugged beauty.
There are scenes that feel kind of hard to watch, unusual to the say the least, but it is interesting to be invited into this culture. I am not saying that this film is a comprehensive take on Kyrgyzstan culture, but at the very least we get a small glimpse of it. This is a foreign film that has potential to touch the heart, enlighten and even shock at the same time.
Refreshing to say the least. FilmMunchers interested in a Kyrgyzstanian offering?
TRIVIA COOKIE: This film was submitted to the Academy Awards for consideration, but failed to make it into the final stages. Kyrgyzstan has submitted seven films for consideration since their independence from Russia in 1999.