Kazakhstan: Gangster Movie Hits Box Office

The first Kazakh fully commercial movie – shot, cut and promoted without state support with the purpose to extract money from the box-office – has produced a big debate in the blogosphere. “Racketeer” is a movie about a young sportsman, who had to make money in the 1990s – a period of serious economic depression in Kazakhstan – and in order to do so, he quits university, joins a gang and knocks out money from the businessmen with his own fists.

Adam Kesher says that the movie has hit the box-offices – it was impossible to buy a ticket for three days after the first show. “I don’t think that the people were dying to see our version of many Russian “bandit soap operas”. More likely, a consumer wants to see the domestic films, wants to be proud of it”. He also regrets that the local distributors are not too keen in promoting Kazakh cinematograph. “There is no other way to support the domestic industry. France and South Korea were doing so – and look at their movies now! If distributors are to support only gangster films, the deformation of culture will be inevitable”.

Megakhuimyak is more positive. “I didn’t see the movie yet, and I may not like it at all, but I approve the fact of its appearance” he says, meaning the movie as a cultural and social phenomenon. “It’s good that we now have the industry that shoots films for the local consumers, not for the festival jury in Venice or elsewhere! It’s good we now have producers who don’t beg the money from the ministry of culture! It’s good that now we will have a new breed of actors, not the nephews, nieces or other types of somebody’s relatives!”, he says.

Sarimov has got a whole bunch of thoughts about the Kazakhstani cinematograph in general — after the discussion, which mostly took place in the abovementioned LiveJournals. “I’ve analyzed the films made in Kazakhstan over the past 10 years. It’s mostly an introspection, a self-reflection. Most of the topics are tied to aul [rural] thematique. Five recent films end up with the main character leaving the country – it’s an alarming signal, taking into account that the artists feel the reality more emotionally. The Nomad-type films are not the movies, but a pure propaganda. And we have some new and good social dramas”, he concludes with a sign of optimism.

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