With a degree in Mathematics, Omirbaev first approached cinema theoretically, graduating from VGIK with a thesis on film semiotics and writing criticism for the magazine Novoe Kino. Omirbaev’s theoretical concerns translate seemlessly to the making of films, and like other critics turned directors, finds human expression for his ideas. Like Bresson, he pays close attention to details, to points of subtle contact between people, and particularly in Kardiogramma – to the merging of dream and reality. And like Godard, his films are self-referential (Jol), and literary (Kairat). His first feature film, Kairat, won the Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. —Seagull Films
Along with Garbo, Turgambayeva gives the best Karenina performance I've seen to date. Also whereas with 'Student' I felt at times Omirbaev was emphasizing too literally the economic modern disparities of post-USSR Kazakhstan, he did it well and balanced in 'Chouga'. The subtle motifs gender and class within the film proved once again how brilliant Omirbaev is.
This distillation of themes and characters and emotions from "Anna Karenina" is another beautiful sad piece of intimate cinema that unfolds like a series of dream states as we become aware of the predicament of the characters. Omirbaev's images and sounds are so unique, his wonderful colour palette set in a snowy city and apartments, of nighttrides in trains linger in the mind long after the film has finished.