Set against the backdrop of rural Kazakhstan, young schoolboys become pawns in an unending social cycle of systematic oppression and violence. By mere happenstance, 13-year-old Alsan becomes the target of a handful of power-mongering classmates who bully him into a simmering silence of loneliness and frustration. In his debut feature, Emir Baigazins unblinking portrait of victims and aggressorsboth functioning without individual agency uses the spare craft of Bresson with the loaded storytelling of Kieslowski to disturbing and poetic ends.
Best New Narrative Director at Tribeca Film Festival, Special Jury Prize at Tokyo FILMex, Best Feature Film at São Paulo International Film Festival, Reader Jury Award at Berlin Film Festival. Berlin International Film Festival, CPH PIX, Locarno Film Festival.