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Little Men

Likable but resolutely slight, "Little Men" is a jaunty buddy movie about con men eking out a slender living by selling trinkets on the streets of contempo Almaty, Kazakhstan. Featuring dudes in cool, sharp suits and a retro vibe, pic may be on picked up by other fests, but theatrically -- much like its heroes -- won't travel far beyond home turf.

Likable but resolutely slight, “Little Men” is a jaunty buddy movie about con men eking out a slender living by selling trinkets on the streets of contempo Almaty, Kazakhstan. Featuring dudes in cool, sharp suits and a retro vibe, pic may be on picked up by other fests, but theatrically — much like its heroes — won’t travel far beyond home turf.

Bek (Erjan Bekmuratov), a shy guy with a mop of hair like Bud Cort in “Harold and Maude,” shares a shabby flat with smooth-talking Max (Oleg Kerimov). Both work for an Amway-style company, selling things like key rings you can find by whistling. Unlike feckless Bek, Max is as good at sweet-talking girls as he is at flogging merchandise. After Max gives him some lessons in picking up the opposite sex, Bek surprises himself by pulling a stunner in a red dress. But when the company they work for goes bust, both men must make some decisions about where they’re going in life. Cleanly shot with seemingly minimal coverage — resulting in long takes — pic features endearing comic performances and effective use of locations. Original title literally means “Little People.”

Little Men

Kazakhstan-France

  • Production: A Studio Kadam, Kazakfilm (Kazakhstan)/Chinguitty Films, Arte France (France) production, with participation of Fonds Sud Cinema, French Ministry of Culture, CNC. (International sales: Kazakfilm, Almaty, Kazakhstan.) Produced by Abderrahmane Sissako. Directed, written by Nariman Turebayev.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Boris Troshev; editor, Andrei Vlaznev; music, Kazbek Spanov; production designer, Sabit Kurmanbekhov. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 14, 2003. Kazakh, Russian dialogue. Running time: 92 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Erjan Bekmuratov, Oleg Kerimov, Lyazat Dautova, Mira Abdulina, Serik Nurbekov, Anna Kolesnikova, Anna Krasnova, Ilias Turmanov.