The Owners

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    The Owners

    Directed by

    Kazakhstan

    2014

    93 min

    • Kazakh

    Comedy drama

    Cannes IFF - Special ScreeningsToronto IFF - Special ScreeningsAsia Pacific Screen Awards nominee 

    25 year-old John, his teenage brother Erbol, and their sickly 12 year-old sister Aliya, are forced to leave their house in the Kazakh city of Almaty. By luck their mother left them a house in a remote village, where they plan to prepare their comeback. But the house appears to be on the wish list of the District Officer’s alcoholic brother, who has lived there illegally for 10 years. The police will do everything in their power to make the brothers’ lives in the village impossible. Through the alembic of the absurd THE OWNERS depicts routine injustice growing to unexpected cruelty, against a background of general indifference.

    Awards

    • Free Spirit Competition - Warsaw FF
    • Best Debut Feature - Cóndor de Plata

    Festivals

    Credits

    Cast
    Yerbolat Yerzhan
    Aidyn Sakhaman
    Aliya Zainalova
    Bauyrzhan Kaptagai
    Screenplay
    Adilkhan Yerzhanov
    Cinematography
    Yerkinbek Ptyraliyev
    Editing
    Adilkhan Yerzhanov
    Music
    Andrei Dubodelov
    Mikhail Sokolov
    Alexander Sukharev

    Director's Statement

    The film I shot is an expression of everyday reality through the alembic of absurd, inspired by the pictorial art of Van Gogh. The combination of a brutal reality and childish happiness – this is the film language that doesn’t simply decorate the film but also comprises its philosophy: I strived to convey the idea not only through the plot of the film but also its aesthetics, and the form of the cinematography. The festivity of death, the indifference of society, the despotism of the corrupt authorities – all of these revolve around the ordinary litigation procedures between two families fighting over a house in a remote village. Together, me and my crew set the goal of establishing a new trend in the cinema of the region – searching for the proper language that could interpret the ferocity of a ‘grunge’ attitude towards the abuse of rights and the harassment of people. We tried to avoid the clichés that are often present in social films. In every shot we had to invent the grotesque actuality. We began with folklore as a basis and then used this archetypical knowledge to emotionally convey these ideas by means of a visual sequence.
    I have carried a love for all the characters through the film, for each one of them makes up a part of the people, despite the fact that their primary essence may be unethical. The humor in this film comes not from any obscenity but as a way to shut our eyes to the evil, to avoid it - maybe something of the philosophy of escapism, which is incarnated in everything that constructs the work. This film is my civil and artistic attempt to give one more chance to society, so that it can see the honest reflection of what routine and ordinary social problems do to ordinary people, before they become indifferent to everything...

    Sales
    UDI - URBAN DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL
    Production
    SHORT BROTHERS

    Press

    Adilkhan Yerzhanov

    Adilkhan Yerzhanov

    Kazakhstan

    Adilkhan Yerzhanov was born in 1982 in the Jezkazgan region of Kazakhstan. In 2009, he finished his studies in film directing at the Kazakhstan National Academy of Arts, and was then able to continue his training in New York thanks to a bursary. In 1999, he received accolades for the first Kazakh animation series KOZY-KORPESH AND BAYAN-SULU. He made several shorts and features, among which THE OWNERS (2014), which premiered at Cannes and was subsequently screened and awarded at many film festivals all over the world. His film, THE PLAGUE AT THE KARATAS VILLAGE (2016), had its world premiere at IFF Rotterdam. His latest film is A DARK DARK MAN (2019).

    Selected Filmography