THE LIGHT THIEF (SVET-AKE)

NOW Magazine - TIFF - - RE­VIEWS - NW

CWC D: Ak­tan Arym Ku­bat w/ Ku­bat, Askat Su­laimanov. Kyr­gyzs­tan/Ger­many/France/Nether­lands. 80 min. Sep 10, 6 pm AMC 4; Sep 11, 9:30 am AMC 3 Rat­ing: NNNNN In a re­mote Kyr­gyzs­tani vil­lage, an am­a­teur elec­tri­cian known as Mr. Light (writer/di­rec­tor Ku­bat) spends his days tweak­ing the towns­folk’s me­ters to keep en­ergy costs down and build­ing wind­mills to get his neigh­bours off the grid. It’s your ba­sic scruffy-dreamer set-up, pre­sented with un­af­fected re­al­ism, and Ku­bat is a pleas­ant enough screen pres­ence as the cheer­ful hero.

Ev­ery­thing pro­ceeds more or less as one would ex­pect, as the script con­trasts the lo­cals’ DIY re­source­ful­ness against the ra­pa­cious greed of the out­siders. But the movie’s al­le­gory gets un­com­fort­ably stri­dent once Mr. Light falls in with a lo­cal fixer (Su­laimanov) who’s buy­ing up land around town in hopes of flip­ping it to for­eign in­vestors, and the last reel stretches the premise a lit­tle fur­ther than it wants to go.

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