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Le Voleur de lumière d'Atkan Arym Kubat affiche film cinéma

[Review] “The Light Thief” by Atkan Arym Kubat

Dernière mise à jour : juillet 12th, 2019 at 10:24 am

The Light Thief (Svet-Ake) is a Kyrgyz feature film by and with Atkan Arym Kubat. Film review by Bulles de Culture on this drama.


He is called Mr. Light (Atkan Arym Kubat). In this lost village in the middle of the Kyrgyz mountains, he maintains the lines, sometimes tampers with electricity meter to help the poorest people. Open and generous, he listens, advises, shares griefs and tempers the marital disputes. It is in fact the last link in a totalitarian system and he becomes the link between the geopolitical problems of the post-Soviet world and the villagers forgotten by modern civilization. He does not only brings them electricity but also the light of love, life and especially of laughter.

The Light Thief : a nice movie on a little-known community

Located in the heart of Central Asia, between Kazakhstan and China, Kyrgyzstan is independent from the USSR since 1991 and has known a succession of revolutions since: the “Tulip Revolution” that toppled the authoritarian President Askar Askaïe in 2005 and the violent uprising in 2010 that drove away its also authoritarian successor Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

In this historical context, The Light Thief tells the story of Mr. Light (“Svet-ake” in Kyrgyz), played by the director himself, an electrician in a lost village in the Kyrgyz mountains. Dreaming of building wind turbines on the mountains to supply the entire valley, he will quickly find himself confronting the powerful and corrupt world of the city.

The Light Thief is a nice movie to see for its almost documentary side of a little-known Kyrgyz community, most extras are the villagers. Beautiful images of landscapes, faces and bodies not seen a lot in cinema. If the unknown language Kirghiz guides us through the story of this idealistic Mr. Light, the end rather dry of the film disappoints somewhat. And even if the charm of the movie works, The Light Thief would have gained in strength with a more original screenplay.

To learn more:

  • French release: 03/02/2011
  • French distributor: ZED
Jean-Christophe Nurbel

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