EXEC PROD Limara Zheksembayeva
SCR/ED Darezhan Omirbayev
CAM Boris Troshev
MUS Baurzhan Kuanys
PROD CO Media Luna New Films / Kazakhstan Films JSC
Kazakhstan’s premier filmmaker Darezhan Omirbayev (Killer, The Road) returns with this mesmerizing take on Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, set in modern-day Almaty, that cooly examines a senseless crime against the background of modern-day Kazakhstan’s social and political malaise.
Student Ali (Omirbayev’s film student Nurlan Baitasov) is dividing his time between working as a production assistant on the set of a local, low-budget film (the director of which is Omirbayev himself) and attending college. One day he listens to a lecture in which the prof sings the praises of social Darwinism as the way forward for Kazakhstan as it transitions to take-no-prisoners capitalism. Taking these words to heart, he sets out to prove himself by robbing a store, killing the shop-owner and a passing woman in the process. His take is meagre, but he shares it with a drunken poet whose daughter he has fallen for. The inexorable march toward the inevitable end has begun…
"With his new film… Omirbayev puts to rest any notion among the world’s intellectuals and literary folk that adaptations of Dostoyevsky’s great Crime and Punishment have been exhausted. Not only is his aesthetic singular—lean, pared down to nicely textured basics, excised of extraneous images and sounds—but the overall social, political, and geographical context is so unique that it affords him the opportunity to spin the entire narrative in an uncharted direction. The use of gorgeous spare wrapping for complex ideas is an inspired choice that keeps the entire project both accessible and stimulating."—Howard Feinstein, Screen