Rural shenanigans have their charms, but the low-budget comedy “Turmoil” is a qualitative step down from the current Kazakh wave sweeping festivals. Thanks to an episodic structure, every scenario is rapidly superseded by another, and the restless pic never really gets a foothold. Fests looking to establish a Kazakh sidebar may enlist this effort, but commercial prospects are confined to the Central Asian region.
When a town decides to embrace democracy, longtime elder Zhake (benevolently craggy-faced vet Nurzjuman Ikhtymbaev, from Pusan opener “The Gift To Stalin) finds himself ousted in favour of a sophisticated, city-educated woman. Scenario generates rustic humor, but the script makes clear that the newcomer does a better job. Anecdotes about workers stealing hay or leaving their posts at the water pump gently amuse, but a sequence about a man (Oliver Hardy-esque thesp Yesbolgan Uteulinov) who eats an entire ram to end up in the “Guinness Book of Records” is a gut-buster. Helming is pedestrian, and pic looks as though it’s been unearthed from a 1970s time capsule. Endearing perfs help transcend other technical liabilities such as poorly synched sound.