×

Venice Film Review: ‘Little Brother’

Kazakh writer-director Seric Aprymov's drama feels like a gentler-tempered, less sophisticated sibling of the recent 'Harmony Lessons.'

With:

Almat Galym, Alisher Aprymov. (Kazakh, Russian, English dialogue)

A 9-year-old boy struggles to get by at school and at home after being abandoned by most of his family in “Little Brother,” a Kazakh drama that in itself feels like a gentler-tempered, less sophisticated sibling of “Harmony Lessons,” a recent Berlinale competitor from the same country. Writer-helmer Seric Aprymov goes easy on the sentimentality and elicits pretty good performances from his mostly non-pro cast, but there’s not much here that hasn’t been seen in a lot of like-minded other films. The best bet for “Little Brother” would be to ride “Harmony Lessons’” coattails into rephouse seasons profiling new Kazakh cinema.

Stoic schoolboy Yerkin (Almat Galym, adorable) is living all by himself in the family home given that Mom is dead, Dad is permanently away “on business” and big brother Aidis (Alisher Aprymov) is away studying in the city. When not at school, where he’s bullied and seen as a trouble maker by teachers, he’s fending for himself making bricks by hand, although adults exploit his innocence to rip him off. Things improve a bit when Aidis comes home, but not much. Humorous moments and the final good-guys’ triumph lighten the mood somewhat.

Venice Film Review: 'Little Brother'

Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 6, 2013. Running time: 93 MIN. Original title: "Bauyr"

Production:

(Kazakhstan) A Kazakhfilm production. (International sales: Kazakhfilm, Almaty.) Produced by Seric Aprymov. Executive producers, Gulmira Zaripova, Dinara Aprymova.

Crew:

Directed, written by Seric Aprymov. Camera (color), Alexander Rubanov; music, Kuat Shildebayev; assistant director, Elmira Aprymova.

With:

Almat Galym, Alisher Aprymov. (Kazakh, Russian, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Carolina

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Carolina Hellsgård's 'Sunburned' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has acquired the rights to Carolina Hellsgård’s “Sunburned,” the follow-up feature to her zombie drama “Endzeit – Ever After.” PTI will be presenting first footage from the film, currently in post-production, at this year’s German Films Previews (July 3-6). “Sunburned” follows solitary teenager Claire on a family holiday in Spain. Neglected by [...]

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Amy Adams (left) as Lynne Cheney

    Film News Roundup: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Sets Awards Show for Jan. 11

    In today’s film news roundup, the 2020 awards season schedule gets finalized; AFM will cover immersive content; “Murderous Trance” and “7 Days to Vegas” get acquired; and Kate Katzman has been added to “The Comeback Trail.” AWARDS DATE The Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild has set Jan. 11 as the date for its seventh [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73

    Billy Drago, who often played harming but chilling gangster roles and appeared in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” and Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider,” died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 73. The character actor played Al Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti in 1987’s “The Untouchables.” On TV series “Charmed,” he put [...]

  • Grant Sputore

    'I Am Mother' Director Tackles Margot Robbie-Produced Thriller 'Augmented'

    Warner Bros. has hired “I Am Mother” director Grant Sputore to helm the science-fiction thriller “Augmented” which Margot Robbie is producing, Variety has learned exclusively. Michael Lloyd Green is rewriting an original script by Mark Townend. Denise Di Novi and Tom Ackerley are also producing. Production companies are Robbie’s LuckyChap and Di Novi’s eponymous Di [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content