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Kazakhstan's Harmony Lessons receives positive feedback at Berlinale

18 february 2013, 19:06
0
Snapshot of Harmony Lessons movie. ©Harmony Lessons Film Production
Snapshot of Harmony Lessons movie. ©Harmony Lessons Film Production
Harmony Lessons movie of Kazakhstan director Emir Baigazin has received high praise from famous trade publications and movie critics, Tengrinews.kz reports.

The critics noted the skills of the 28-y.o. filmmaker and the subject of child violence covered in the movie. The movie tells a story of a 13-y.o. school student who suffered humiliation from other students.

Russian Newspaper writes that a doubtless advantage of the young filmmaker is the ability to work with amateur teenage actors and his attention to details.

“Having left the school not long time ago, he made an integral picture of this village school where teachers need to study themselves and where the strongest rule. He managed to open up the closed vessel which is basically the teenager’s inner world closed off from the adults, and often monstrously distorted if opened to peers. Compared to the trendy new interpretations of the “school subject”, the director does not get doomy and gloomy and remains at the level of art. Although, one cannot accuse him of Tolstoy’s “non-resistance to evil”: the movie clearly shows “a dog’s death for a dog”,” the newspaper writes. Besides, the critics note that Harmony Lessons and filmmaker Emir Baigazin is the only perspective discovery of the 63rd Berlin festival and “it is quite possible that the jury will not find it possible to pass by it”.

“Each movie frame contains some underlying symbolism - be it the clinical torture of cockroaches or the origami flowers created out of boredom. Thematically imbuing the visuals of European arthouse with the cold, detached and unflinching approach to violence of Japanese cinema, Harmony Lessons is a truly unique amalgamation of Eastern and European film,” Cine Vue writes. Variety, Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and Kinopoisk also gave positive feedback on the movie made by the Kazakhstan filmmaker.

Lead actor Timur Aidarbekov grew up in an orphanage. His character, a 13-y.o. schoolboy named Aslan, suffers indignity in front of his classmates and this starts a personality disorder in him. After that the boy starts to strain after cleanliness and perfection and becomes obsessed with controlling everything around him. But his relationships with the classmates and blackmailing keep getting worse.

“I was made this movie in a difficult time when I felt like all my leads were lost. I don’t think that the meaning of life lays in good and evil dichotomy. Life is just an experience,” Baigazin said. According to the director, it was important for him to build the drama in such a way that the murders the hero commits are not stressed too much. “The movie focuses more of how the thought of killing another person is conceived in the mind of a person. It is important to understand that we live in a world and conditions where one has to survive,” RIA Novosti cites Baigazin.

The movie starts with a scene of sheep slaughter. Despite of the fact that the scene looks very natural, the filmmaker confessed that the sheep was not slaughtered. That was a sign of respect to vegetarian operator Aziz Zhambakiyev.

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