The Chimp

Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, "The Adopted Son," Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov's "The Chimp" is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Pic is a copper-bottomed fest entry, with limited distribution potential beyond highly specialized outlets.

With:
"The Chimp" - Mirlan Abdykalykov Seri - Sergei Golovkin The father - Dzylkycy Dzakypov Zina - Alexandra Mitrokhina Sasha - Yuri Sokolov Akbar - Salynbek Sarymsakov The mother - Ainagul Essenkoyeva (Russian & Kirgiz dialogue)

Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered “Son,” and certainly less playful and humorous, pic is a copper-bottomed fest entry, with limited distribution potential beyond highly specialized outlets.

The film completes a loose trilogy begun with the 1993 short feature, “La balencoire,” and is Abdykalykov’s first pic entirely in color, with precision lensing by Hassan Kydyraliev throughout. On every tech level, “Chimp” is a step up from “Son,” with an orchestral score by Alexander Yurtaev that varies from ethnic-flavored chamber scoring to more full-blown cues.

Title character (Mirlan Abdykalykov) is so nicknamed because of his jug-like ears, but in most other respects his adolescence is no different from children of a similar age worldwide. His girlfriend causes him perpetual angst, his relationship with his father (Dzylkycy Dzakypov) is strained, and he and his buddies wile away their time before military service playing pranks, brawling, talking about girls and cycling around the unprepossessing neighborhood. There’s even a blousy hooker (Alexandra Mitrokhina) taunting their manhood.

Not a great deal happens in the movie apart from the boy’s mother (Ainagul Essenkoyeva) walking out with the Chimp’s younger sister and the boy himself finally coming to an understanding with his morose, alcoholic father. Between times, he experiences occasional beatings by Russian kids (though racial tensions are not really dealt with) and spends a lot of time wandering on his own.

In pacing, the film recalls the very early works of Taiwanese helmer Hou Hsiao-hsien, especially “The Boys from Fengkuei” — marginally distanced but rooted in reality. Overall, however, the pic is suffused with a French art film aesthetic that’s also noticeable in other Third World-set movies with Gallic financing. Always tightly controlled, and seemingly aimed at a Eurofest audience, “The Chimp” has a garnished feel — rough life observed through a protective pane of glass — that robs it of any real emotion. Performances are adequate.

The Chimp

France-Kirgizstan-Japan

Production: An Haut & Court release (in France) of a Noe Prods. (France)/Studio Beshkempir (Kirgizstan)/Bitters End (Japan) production, with participation of TPS Cinema, Multivision, Ministry of Culture & Communications/Ministry of Foreign Affairs (France). (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Frederique Dumas-Zajdela, Marc Baschet, Cedomir Kolar. Executive producer, Goulmira Kevirova. Directed by Aktan Abdykalykov. Screenplay, Abdykalykov, Avtandil Adykoulov, Tonino Guerra.

Crew: Camera (color), Hassan Kydyraliev; editors, Tilek Mambetova, Natalia Vavilkina; music, Alexander Yurtaev; art director, Dzylkycy Dzakypov; costume designer, Erik Saliev; sound (Dolby), Bakyt Niyazaliev, Alek Goosse. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 14, 2001. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: "The Chimp" - Mirlan Abdykalykov Seri - Sergei Golovkin The father - Dzylkycy Dzakypov Zina - Alexandra Mitrokhina Sasha - Yuri Sokolov Akbar - Salynbek Sarymsakov The mother - Ainagul Essenkoyeva (Russian & Kirgiz dialogue)

More Film

  • Nathan Fillion Made His Own 'Uncharted'

    Nathan Fillion Made His Own 'Uncharted' Fan Film

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • Locarno: Beta Cinema Takes Piazza Grande

    Locarno: Beta Cinema Takes Piazza Grande Entry ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us,’ from Sandra Nettelbeck (EXCLUSIVE)

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • Stanley Kubrick Arriflex

    Found: Stanley Kubrick's Lost Screenplay, 'Burning Secret'

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • Director Hirokazu Kore-eda holds the Palme

    Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke Confirmed for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Verite’

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • STX Targeting August IPO in Hong

    STX Targeting August IPO in Hong Kong (Report)

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

    Korea Box Office: ‘Ant-Man’ Stays Bigger Than ‘Skyscraper’

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

  • China Box Office: 'Dying' Holds off

    China Box Office: 'Dying to Survive' Scores $69 Million, Holds Off 'Hidden Man'

    Continuing the patchwork, autobiographical style of his first feature, “The Adopted Son,” Kirgiz helmer Aktan Abdykalykov’s “The Chimp” is essentially more of the same, a series of small incidents centered on the everyday life of its protagonist, here a 17-year-old teenage boy in a bleak Central Asian town. Though more visually rigorous than the kid-centered […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content