Previous Work
Asian Project Market
The Owners

Not available for screening anymore

The Owners

Directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov

  • Kazakhstan 2014; 93 min
  • Original version: Kazakh
  • Genre: Comedy drama
    • Free Spirit Competition - Warsaw FF
    • Best Debut Feature - Cóndor de Plata

  • Cannes IFF - Special Screenings
    Toronto IFF - Special Screenings

    Asia Pacific Screen Awards nominee 

  • From the director of SUNRISE presented at Asian Project Market


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.

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...




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