Review by Stuart Barr
Stars Aktan Arym Kubat, Taalaikan Abazova, Askat Sulaimanov,
Asan Amanov, Stanbek Toichubaev
Written by Aktan Arym Kubat & Talip Ibraimov
Cinematography by Khasan Kydyraliyev
Certification UK 15 | US R
Runtime 80 minutes
Directed by Aktan Arym Kubat
Set in the post-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic, a country in economic chaos following the collapse of its industrial economy, The Light Thief is a slight but affecting fable about goodness and compassion in the face of encroaching darkness. The story takes place in a small village, the inhabitants of the town live in crushing poverty.
Local electrical Svet-ake (writer/director Kubat) has been aiding the poorest in the town by rigging their electricity meters giving them free power. An innocent soul, Svet-ake takes no compensation for this, although his wife worries about the consequences if he is caught. Svet-ake has a dream of supplying the village through wind power. This dream is exploited by a rising local politician/gangster who needs his skills as an electrician.
The Light Thief is a film so delicate it practically floats on air. Led by a winning performance from Kubat who has an immensely likeable screen presence, the film sets itself up as a parable of good and evil. Cinematographer Hassan Kydyraliyev captures the Krygyz landscape and the harsh reality of living there vividly.
This is a charming but slight film that will please an art house audience. It is full of terrific incidental details, but ultimately I found it a little to enigmatic to really connect.