Adilkhan Yerzhanov

6.9 The Owners (2014)
7.2 A Dark Dark Man (2019)
7.1 Steppenwolf (2024)

Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan, 1982), heir to the satirical strand of Soviet cinema, debuted with a series of shorts, starting with Self-portrait (2007, short), Bakhytzhamal (2007, short), Brothers Shorty (2008, short), Karatas (2009), Disc Seller (2009, short),

Rieltor (2011)

Stroiteli/Constructors (2013)

Ukili Kamshat/ The Owners (2014)

Chuma v Aule Karatas/ The Plague at the Karatas Village (2016)

Laskovoe Bezrazlichie Mira/ The Gentle Indifference of the World (2018)

Nochnoy Bog/ Night God (2018),

Boy Atbaya/ Atbai’s Fight (2019)

Qap-Qara Adam/ Chornyy Chornyy Chelovek/ A Dark Dark Man (2019), photographed by Aidar Sharipov and co-written with Roelof Jan Minneboo, is a bleak fresco of an extremely corrupt society. The protagonist is an immoral anti-hero who doesn't care about the cycle of petrified horror. He has lived all his life in an underworld of corruption and murder that recalls the hard-boiled detective novels of Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson. The absurd has become normal for him. The briefly second protagonist stands out for not being like them. She comes from a foreign country, is a woman and is not corruptible. She causes the man's moral transformation that leads to a Jim Thompson-style massacre: redemption through annihilation.

A woman and a child, who don't speak, blindfold a man in a corn field and play "hide and seek" with him. A police detective meets the man when he stumbles out of the corn field, takes him to a barn, offers him money to masturbate and collect the sperm in a can, then hands him a chocolate bar. The detective walks into a garage where the body of a murdered child is lying and spreads the man's sperm on the child. The poor man is mentally retarded and doesn't understand that the detective has just framed him for the murder and rape of the child. He just wants the chocolate for his woman Ademi. The idiot, Pekuar, returns to play with his mute woman Ademi and the mute child in the cornfield.
Young detective Bekzat arrives, charged with investigating the murder, and intimidated by a corrupt official and by his thug Takque. Of course, Bekzat concludes that Pekuar is the murderer and arrests him. At the station his boss is hysterical. He is busy torturing a prisoner who refuses to confess. His boss tells Pekuar to change the date of the report on the child's murder, because it shows a date of three days earlier (the report was written before Bekzat arrested Pekuar). Pekuar's mute woman and child are anxiously waiting outside the gate of the police station. A thug representing powerful man Zambeke comes to visit the chief, Nureke, and pays him to have the poor Pekuar killed claiming that the murdered child was his son (although the child officially was an orphan). The boss, Nureke, coldly oeswea Bekzat to proceed with killing the poor man, who doesn't even understand what is going on, and Bekzat sets out to do it. He is indifferent: obviously this is not the first time that he deals with a framed suspect and with an extrajudicial execution. But just then a journalist named Ariana shows up, authorized "from above" to follow the investigation. Nureke and Bekzat have to postpone the execution. We then see a shady deal between Bezkat and a cop who demands he respects his territory. Bezkat beats him unconscious. Then a meeting with a rich investor who plans to develop the countryside and wants Bezkat to work for him. Ariana points out that four homeless orphan children have been killed and raped in four years in that village. The evidence points to a serial killer but instead they (the cops) arrested four different suspects and three of them already committed suicide in prison. The corrupt cops have to restart the investigation because Ariana threatens to write a report on them. And so Bezkat has to return to the scene of the crime, and discovers that the morgue staff forgot to remove the cadaver. Bezkat finally does what he didn't do before: he interrogates the potential witnesses. Another orphan child tells Bezkat that he saw the killer, a "big dark man" driving a black jeep, and Bezkat understands it's a powerful politician. But Bezkat doesn't tell Ariana. Sitting in front of a campfire in the cornfield, Bezkat opens up to Ariana: he was an orphan too. Ariana instead is tight-lipped about her life. Bezkat suspects aloud that she got her job thanks to a powerful "daddy" and that she lives abroad, but she doesn't respond. She's only interested in writing her report. The coroner is not happy to get involved, but reassures Bezkat that the autopsy will show that Pukuar is the murderer. While a blindfolded Arian plays "hide and seek" with Pukuar, Ademi and their child, Bezkat visits a criminal who threatens to rat on Nureke and on him, and kills him, removing a dangerous witness. While they are roaming the vast empty landscape, Bezkat is approached by a woman who accuses him of killing her son during questioning and then claiming he died of a heart attack. Ariana hears it. Bezkat interviews a tractor driver, Bakha, who, according to the orphan, witnessed the powerful politician take away the victim. The tractor driver has a broken nose and claims that he didn't see anything. Bezkat congratulates him on having a good story. Bezkat then visits the powerful Zambeke to warn him that Ariana wants to reopen old cases. Ariana is told to stay out of their conversation. The dumb Pukuar and his mute woman are in the car. Zambeke asks again Bezkat to kill Pukuar and promises money, apartment, car and a girl. Bezkat tries to explain that he cannot do it while the journalist is watching him. Zambeke has his men beat up both Pukuar and Bezkat (in front of a powerless Ariana) to teach him a lesson. Zambeke gives him 24 hours to kill Pukuar. Ariana apologizes to Bezkat that she didn't do anything to help him, but Bezkat explains that what she saw is nothing: once she writes her report and returns to her country, Zambeke's thugs will kill everybody. Ariana tells Bezkat that she reviewed his work and discovered that in two years eleven suspects committed suicide, including women and teenagers. When they return to the police station, they find it has been taken over by thugs of the corrupt official of the beginning. Bekzat finds his boss Nureke murdered. The corrupt official forces Bekzat to sign a report incriminating Ariana. And, outside the station, the thugs beat up Ariana and arrest her claiming that she was high on drugs and injured himself by falling. Then they show her the report incriminating her signed by Bezkat. And they find drugs in her pockets (which they put there) for which she will deported to her foreign country. Bezkat watches silently and smokes a cigarette while they take her away.
Bezkat is supposed to kill the helpless Pukuar but at the last minute he can't do it. Instead Bezkat drives Pukuar and Ademi far away, to a mountain cabin of a friend, in an empty snowy landscape, where they can play like children and hide safely. He then pretends to the thugs that he has killed Pukuar. Two of the corrupt official's thugs try to kill him but instead he kills them. He then drives to his police station and kills the corrupt chief and the reaining thugs. Fatally wounded himself, Bezkat dies. Ariana returns with two photographers and finds only dead bodies. We finally see Pukuar and Ademi playing like children in the snow.

Sary Mysyq/ Yellow Cat (2020)

Ulbolsyn (2020)

Onbagandar/ Herd Immunity (2021)

Goliath (2022)

Shturm/ Assault (2022)

Ademokani Oqitw/ Obucheniye Ademoki/ Ademoka’s education (2022)

Nosorog/ Rhinoceros (2024)

Dala Kaskyry/ Steppenwolf (2024)

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