The Light Thief

"Excellent"

The Light Thief Review


This beautifully made fable from Kyrgyzstan tackles big themes in its story about the encounter between poor villagers and rich big-city businessmen trying to change their way of life. But the story remains intimate and often very funny.

In a small Kyrgyz village, the cheeky electrician (Arym Kubat) is simply called "Mr Light", and he's often in trouble for helping people get free electricity off the national grid. When he's drunk, he confesses to his friend Mansur (Toichubaev) that he wishes he and wife Bermet (Abazova) had a son instead of four lively daughters. And when rich businessman Bezkat (Sulaimanov) arrives, buying up land saying he wants to improve village life, he gives Mr Light a great job. But is Bezkat as nice as he seems?

The film is shot and edited with skill, revealing details of the characters through the colourful culture, stunning landscapes and quirky actions.

Structured as a series of black-out sequences, the film is infused with both dry wit and broad comedy, which cleverly provide a counterpoint to the underlying suspense in each scene. Mr Light is continually scales tall poles and trees, and a polo match played with a dead sheep ends in a scary confrontation.

Played with precision by Arym Kubat, Mr Light's cheerful idealism always seems on the verge of being slammed down. But with each setback he perseveres, always ready to help anyone in need and holding to a higher sense of morality than the wealthy people he works for. Indeed, this leads to the film's most startling confrontation, as Bezkat entertains visiting Chinese investors.

Between the breezy surface and the nervy undercurrent, the film is a fascinating look at a society where modern life collides with ancient customs.

One character's wife writes asking for a divorce so she can stay in Italy and get married there. Another sees a decadent display of modern technology, but is more impressed by a huge bowl of strange fruit. And a crowd of donkeys paces the dusty streets, punctuating scenes and hinting at a deeper meaning. Yes, some of this is a bit over-stated, but it's so engagingly well made that we're ultimately surprised by just how invested we are in these people's lives.



The Light Thief

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd March 2011

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Aktan Arym Kubat

Producer: , , Thanassis Karathanos, Altynai Koichumanova, Cedomir Kolar, Denis Vaslin

Starring: Aktan Abdykalykov as Svet-Ake (as Aktan Arym Kubat), Taalaikan Abazova as Bermet, Askat Sulaimanov as Bekzat, Asan Amanov as Esen, Stanbek Toichubaev as Mansur

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