|Sunset in one of the poorest countries in Central Asia.|
Kyrgyzstan was the second poorest country in the former Soviet Union and is now the second poorest country in Central Asia. Its one of the worlds six independent Turkic states, landlocked and mountainous, bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Apparently every new feature film made in Kyrgyzstan is not only a cultural event, its one of the country’s major political events. With The Light Thief (2010) being deemed good enough for their submission as Best Foreign Language Film for the 83rd Academy Awards there would have been a national holiday declared!
This was one of the films that I missed at the RBC Film Club while on sabbatical in Spain but now thanks to Love film I get a chance to see this charming film. Described as a modern day parable stemming from the collapse of the USSR and the attendant demise of the entire Kyrgyz industrial system that ultimately lead to an entire nation becoming unemployed. It tells the story of a humble village electrician Svet-Ake known as Mr. Light who devotes his time to his destitute family and neighbors. With unemployment threatening the survival of the community Mr. Light agrees a contract with a rich developer, running for local government office, to supply wind-generated electricity to the whole valley. Our modest protagonist does not realize the political corruption that his benefactor is involved with.
Directed, written and starring as our ‘Robin Hood’ electrician, The Light Thief is Aktan Arym Kubat’s fifth feature film. Kubat was born in Kyrgyzstan and it shows in the insight he offers his viewing audience in to the village’s cultural life and the bleak beauty of the surrounding countryside. It’s a shame that this interesting and informative film will never reach a large audience, unless BBC4 show it!