Revenge | Mest (1989) **** Midnight Sun Film Festival 2019

June 8th, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: JERMEK ŠINARBAYEV | Russia | Drama 99′

When the Soviet Union broke up, the Kazakh New Wave was born. Two of its brightest protagonists were Jermek Shinarbayev and his scriptwriter Anatoli Kimi. Of their three films, the most remarkable and poetic is this exquisite tale of violence and obsession that had its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.

Unfolding in the eight parts, the opening episode takes place in 17th century Korea where a child is raised specifically to avenge the death of his father’s first born: the Emperor’s son is trained as a soldier, but his best friend becomes a poet of violence. In 1915, the teacher kills his pupil, a little girl. The girl’s father swears revenge and follows the teacher to China, but is unable to carry out her intentions.

Elegant yet complex the film’s ingenious narrative elements are enhanced by Sergei Kosmanjov’s stunningly evocative images. Revenge has been restored as part of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project.

Restored in 2010 by the Cinemaeca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in Kazakhstan Studio of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Ermek Shinarbaev.

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