Veteran scenarist-turned-first-time director Khuat Akhmetov’s “Wind Man” is a beguiling allegory mixing equal parts whimsy, earthy humor and social critique. Set in a remote Kazakh outpost full of eccentric structures, costumes and characters, this tale of a village stirred and shaken when a broken-winged man — possibly an angel — lands in their midst is a solid fest item (and Montreal prize-winner) with potential for specialized offshore DVD and artscaster sales.
When a young boy spies the face of an ominously veiled stranger — perhaps Death itself — he falls gravely ill. Yet he’s cured by another otherworldly visitor, a mute, elderly, frail being (Igor Yasulovich) with large wings found hiding in the family’s barn. Superstitious villagers are frightened by this weird specter, while bureaucrats try to use him for their own purposes. Only the innocent boy and his kindhearted father, Almat (Kuandyk Krystkbaev) have the “angel’s” best interests in mind, leaving the citizens vulnerable to divine punishment for their bad faith. Elements of absurdism, poignancy, mysticism and satire mix seamlessly; fanciful production design and an orchestral/choral score make notable contributions.