The people of Kyrgyzstan have an ancient tradition: the parents of a large family offer a baby to a childless couple. As a ritual, five old women pass the baby over their bent knees and name it “Beshkempir” (which means “five old women”). Azate lives a happy childhood in his small village. One day, he learns he is an adopted son and his life is turned upside down. Uncertain about his identity, he is alienated by this loss and unhappiness from his family and friends and the girl he is so crazy about.
Aktan Abdykalykov was born in 1957 in the village of Kountouou in the region of Sakoulou in Kirghizstan. He worked as an art director on the feature “Où est ta maison l’escargot” (1991-1992) (114 mn) (Studio Kepetchek), which won the Jury Prize at the International Film Festival of Achkhabad (Turkmenistan) and was selected by the XVIIIth International Film Festival in Moscow (Russia). He was also the art director on short films such as “Beket” (1995) and “Beck-Terek”, which were selected at the Film Festival of Augsburg, the World Conference of Social Television Programmes in Guadalajara, the 10th Pärnu Film Festival (Estonia) and the Hamburg Film Festival. He directed many short films and video clips and the film “La Balançoire” (1991-1992), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland). “Le Fils Adoptif” gained him international recognition. “The Monkey” is his second feature film. —diplomatie.gouv.fr
"Abdykalykov's sparing use of color—clearly a matter of aesthetic rather than financial reasons—reinvents our perception of color as well as of black-and-white in movies: every shift between these registers is experienced as an epiphany, a bursting re-creation of the world. When Abdykalykov was asked what motivated this eccentric construction, he replied that it was inspired by the way rugs in Kyrgyzstan are woven and patched together. A lateral camera movement over one of these gorgeous rugs in color is the film's first image, and everything that follows conforms to this beautifully abstract pattern, much the way a musical theme would be developed."—Jonathan Rosenbaum
More people on this site should watch this gift of a film. Never didactic and always humble and meditative, Abdikalykov's poetic language reaches a level of sophistication that, in my opinion, rivals that of Tarkovsky or Bresson. This is a truly beautiful work from a filmmaker who i just have to find out more about now.