10/06/2013 Awards

HARMONY LESSONS tops Seattle awards


Emir Baigazin's astounding debut feature Harmony Lessons set the bar for all the films that the Narrative Jury watched before and after. On one level, it's the simple tale of a bullied Muslim boy in rural Kazakhstan. But as no single child's life is ever as simple as adults believe, from the moment we meet the dark-eyed, pimply hero chasing down a family sheep to slaughter with his aging babushka, to his ultimate act of vengeance in his struggle for survival, his confrontation with bullies at his local school spirals into a larger tale of societal dominance and submission. Power relations based on intimidation and violence flow from boy to sheep, alpha boy to beta, local police to accused criminals, and ultimately an entire society defined by a hierarchy of male bullying male. Visually exact, transparently acted by a mostly juvenile cast, and quietly terrifying, this Kazakhstan/Germany/France co-production is a hard-won lesson in how brutal life can be that is told with spellbinding assurance by a visionary young talent.

RELATED FILM

RELATED NEWS

LINKS