Archive of films Centaur / Centaur

Kyrgyzstan / France / Germany / Netherlands / Japan
2017, 89 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2017

The only thing that disturbs Centaur’s deeply happy, if imperfect, family life is his pressing need to secretly liberate racehorses. But misfortune comes from his desire to take a stand against human greed for a subjugated animal that gives humans wings. This visually polished updating of the Don Quixote story premiered at the Berlinale.


Centaur is an honest and likable guy who lives somewhere on the steppe with his deaf-mute wife and adored little boy. He earned his nickname through his passion for horses, for he is convinced that only they can help Kyrgyzstan become a powerful nation. Bridling at the exploitation of these mythic creatures, he undertakes secret nighttime sorties to liberate racehorses. But it’s hard to keep anything hidden from your fellow villagers, and Centaur suffers such ill-will and misunderstanding that everything he lives for is threatened. The Kyrgyz version of the tale about the knight with the chagrined aspect gives us a glimpse into the social transformation of a country that is slowly losing its roots and now stands at a crossroads between tolerant Islam and expansionist capitalism. A landscape of natural elements and human passions figures in the minimalistic shots, amplifying the movie’s visual enchantment. The story gains a strong emotional note thanks to the subtly observed environment and the unaffected acting performances, dominated by the director himself in the title role.

Kamila Dolotina

About the director

Aktan Arym Kubat

Aktan Arym Kubat (b. 1957, Kuntu, Kyrgyzstan), also known as Aktan Abdykalykov, graduated from the Art Academy in Bishkek, then started working as a production designer. In the 1990s he also proved to be an able director who highlights his country’s pressing issues from a poetic angle. The Swing (Altybakan, 1993) won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Torino FF and Main Prize in the short film section at Locarno. At the same festival five years later he accepted a Silver Leopard for The Adopted Son (Beshkempir), which also competed at Karlovy Vary in the East of the West Competition. The Chimp (Maimil, 2001) received a screening at the Cannes fest, as did The Light Thief (Svet-Ake, 2010), in which Kubat also took the main role. This experience in front of the camera was employed to great effect once again in Centaur (2017), which premiered in Berlinale’s Panorama this year.


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About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Aktan Arym Kubat
Screenplay: Aktan Arym Kubat, Ernest Abdyjaparov
Dir. of Photography: Khassan Kydyraliev
Music: Andre Matthias
Editor: Petar Markovic
Art Director: Adis Seitaliev
Producer: Altynai Koichumanova, Cedomir Kolar, Thanassis Karathanos, Marc Baschet
Production: Oy Art
Coproduction: A.S.A.P. Films, Pallas Film, Volya Films
Cast: Nuraly Tursunkojoev, Zarema Asanalieva, Aktan Arym Kubat, Taalaikan Abazova, Ilim Kalmuratov
Sales: The Match Factory

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