Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan, 1998; 80m
Marat, a young man in Almaty with a wife and a new baby, accidentally rear-ends a Mercedes. Short for cash, he turns to a loan shark, which puts the mob on his back. Eventually, he's backed into a corner. To make good on his debt, he must kill a man. Omirbaev's third feature departs from his customary poetic-autobiographical explorations - in an effort to portray the mean reality of life in contemporary Kazakhstan, he worked from the clear, strong metaphor of a lone individual who is forced to shoot before he's shot at. The story and the sensibility have a kinship with Bresson's L'Argent, but KILLER has an altogether different tone, at once drily entrancing and profoundly melancholy.