Kairat (1992)

7 06 2011

This is a really nice movie that, if it has any faults, it’s that it’s just too small. It’s not a big problem, though as I like plenty of other inconsequential movies and I like plenty of ones that are short. This is a bit troubling, though as it’s just over an hour and obviously feels a little incomplete. From a technical standpoint, it’s about as perfect as a movie can be considering the circumstances. Long static shots, black and white academy ratio and little to no dialogue? Yes, it is the cinephille’s wet dream that it sounds like. It manages to call upon the Bresson (especially with the acting) while leaving enough of a mark to be considered unique in its own right.

If the technical stuff isn’t enough for the biggest film buff then how about this, the movie is almost principally considered with a quiet individual who meets girls in movie theaters and then kind of casually stalks them. It sounds weird when put to text, but it is somehow sort of fantastic to watch unfold. I honestly wouldn’t mind if Darezhan Omirbayev just completely revisited this story again since it seems like it could use some fleshing out, perhaps an upgrade in the sense of just exploring the premise further. As it stands, it’s mostly just a skeleton, and maybe that’s not really a problem but at the very least, I’d like to see more of the skeleton, i.e. a longer movie.

Even though I really have nothing but good things to say here, I do think this film’s legacy, if it ever develops one, will be a little lost, even amongst hardcore film nerds. I can’t say it is too ahead of its time, because it is clearly drawing upon Bresson and maybe some of Ozu, but the fact of the matter is, this whole type of Asian minimalism what with Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang. In fact, many of the scenes inside the movie theaters are eerily similar to ones in Tsai’s Goodbye Dragon Inn, albeit a bit more rough around the edges. Perhaps Kairat‘s biggest downfall is that it is sort of too perfect. Not one minute feels wasted, but again, it just goes by too quickly. Maybe repeated viewings will allow me to personally adjust to the film’s odd pacing of  being slow, but going by rather fast. All in all, a very impressive effort.



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