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The Adopted Son

Aktan Abdikalikov, Kyrgyzstan, 1998; 81m
The Adopted Son
Aktan Abdikalikov's first feature was a worldwide success, and it stands as one of the finest films of the 90s. Beshkempir (played by the director's son Mirlan) undergoes an identity crisis at the age of 13 when he learns that he is adopted. From this simple situation, Abdikalikov creates a wondrous film of hand-crafted beauty.
"Abdikalikov's sparing use of color - clearly a matter of aesthetic rather than financial reasons - our perception of color as well as of black-and-white in movies: every shift between these registers is experienced as an epiphany, a bursting re-creation of the world. When Abdikalikov was asked what motivated this eccentric construction, he replied that it was inspired by the way rugs in Kyrgyzstan are woven and patched together. A lateral camera movement over one of these gorgeous rugs in color is the film's first image, and everything that follows conforms to this beautifully abstract pattern, much the way a musical theme would be developed." Jonathan Rosenbaum.