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Beshkempir: The Adopted Son (1999)

Mirlan Abdykalykov , Adir Abilkassimov , Aktan Arym Kubat  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mirlan Abdykalykov, Adir Abilkassimov, Mirlan Cinkozoev, Bakit Dzhylkychiev, Albina Imasheva
  • Directors: Aktan Arym Kubat
  • Writers: Aktan Arym Kubat, Avtandil Adikulov, Marat Sarulu
  • Producers: Cédomir Kolar, Frédérique Dumas-Zajdela, Irizbaj Alybayev, Marc Baschet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2000
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000034DDH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,587 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beshkempir: The Adopted Son" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Beshkempir is an exquisitely composed and photographed child-to-man tale of a Kyrgyz villager. Beshkempir is just like any other kid - playing in mud, getting into trouble, experiencing the first pangs of sexuality - until a fight with his best friend leads to the revelation that he was adopted. What sounds like a clichi takes on striking resonance here in a mostly pre-industrial society where the daily rituals are so earth-based that Beshkempir's request for money to see a movie comes across as an anachronism. Shot in gorgeous black and white, the film explodes into occasional bursts of color. Beshkempir, The Adopted Son is a rare poetic treat.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glimpse of an unfamiliar culture July 19, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This film succeeds because of the simple earthiness of the village where the story takes place. The plot itself is quite familiar, the typical coming of age. The fact that this boy has been adopted and doesn't realize it gives a twist here. One also emphasizes with the father who feels that he must be tougher than he would be even on a natural born son.
There's a natural poetry here. The pace is slow, quite slow, but not tiresome. It's shorter than the typical American feature movie, and so the pace doesn't hurt the movie.
It is in black and white, although with occasional and startling bursts of color. Hey, they don't make pictures like this here in America!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting film, something of a curiosity May 28, 2007
Format:DVD
A minimalist film from Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic (there are several alternative spellings of the country). Shot in black and white, but with a few scenes in color, the film is set on a rural village and starts as a young baby boy is adopted by another family. The film cuts to several years later, when the boy is now a teenager. With other boys he is shown having the small adventures that boys in small towns have, stealing fruits from a neighbor, fighting, splashing in a mud pool, going with the rest of the village to an outdoor cinema (where an Indian film is shown, using an old projector). The central conflict of the movie starts when other boy, after losing against him the favor of one of the girls, tells him he is an adopted boy (which is apparently a cause for shame in the local culture). This small conflict will eventually reach a happy resolution, when his parents (which had hide to him his origins) tell him the truth. The movie is well done, in the tradition of the slow Soviet art movies, though it would be a stretch to call it a masterpiece. But because the country and its culture are little known outside the former Soviet Union, most of the viewers will see the film with the thrill of discovery, as a portrayal of a strange, unknown culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating! July 13, 2008
Format:DVD
Great visual imagery of a story about an adopted boy in a small Kyrgystani village. The kids play with him and a girl is willing to be attracted to him until it is revealed he is adopted. He then becomes somewhat of an outcast until some issues are resolved and a tragedy happens. A very moving story done in black and white and in color. I was really interested in the how life is conducted in the village, the work of the adults and the play of the children. It is fascinating and a really good showcase for a culture most Americans know little about. My spell checker couldn't even recognize the spelling of the country! Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unique view of Kyrgyz village life July 31, 2004
Format:DVD
This is the story of Beshkempir, a young boy growing up in the typical local manner, until his best friend, in a burst of anger, reveals that Beshkempir is adopted.

The plot is weak, but it is surprising not central to the movie. The film progresses with little dialogue, moving viewers through the days and weeks of typical village life. Most of the movie is in black and white, with occasional vibrant bursts of color. The relations between individuals, the land and animals are wonderfully conveyed, as is the typical life and cultural practices of Kyrgyz villagers. The movie is surprisingly frank, portraying issues such as early sexual exploration and spousal abuse with honesty.

Highly recommended for those planning to visit the area or interested in post-Soviet Central Asian culture.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old story, new storyteller. April 26, 2002
Format:DVD
The Esperanto of film narrative appears to be the (male) rites-of-passage. From Vigo to Truffaut to Yang, from China to Iran to Hollywood, the story of a young boy rising to man's estate is in danger of becoming tediously over-familiar. Although this is the first film produced by the former Soviet colony of Kyrgyzstan, there is nothing here to scare anyone who's seen 'Stand By Me' or 'George Washington' - a group of pubescent boys mess about one long, hot summer, splashing about in mud pools, staring rapt at bathing matriarchs, thieving, fighting, going to the cinema, struggling with parents and societal expectations, watching older boys beginning romances. Like a young Truffaut hero, the title character's attempts to fit in are fraught with obstacles, in particular the fact that he is a foundling orphan, which is crucially brought against him when he beats his best friend for the affections of an eternally-grinning young woman.
Yes, we've seen it a thousand times. What distinguishes a talented director from a hack is the fresh way he finds of enlivening stock material. Aktan Abdykalyakov is luckier than most, in that his country has never been represented on screen, so this strange new world has an inherent, novel fascination of its own. Abdykalyakov never allows the necessities of plot overwhelm his evocation of place, a rural village barely touched by modernisation. Clothing, bicycles, cinema are among the few reminders of the 20th century, as we watch formal ceremonies celebrating birth and death, concentrate on people silently working, beating carpets, creating mud bricks, breaking in horses, gutting fish.
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