THE WOUNDED ANGEL
Born in Kazakhstan in 1984, Emir Baigazin is an outstanding talent. After studying at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts, he took part in the Asian Film Academy in Busan, South Korea. He also is an alumnus of the 2008 Berlinale Talent Campus.
His debut film HARMONY LESSONS bears testimony to his talent. The film was supported by the World Cinema Fund and was awarded the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the premiere ceremony of the Berlinale Competition 2013. He also received the Berliner Morgenpost’s Reader Prize. The film is regarded as an extraordinary discovery and meanwhile continues its international festival career.
Twenty awards are crowning Baigazin’s career, including the prizes of the Tribeca Film Festival, the Sao Paulo Film Festival and the Seattle Film Festival; he also received a “Special Mention in Directing Achievement” at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia.
THE WOUNDED ANGEL consists of four short episodes, each telling the story of a teenager in a godforsaken village in 1990’s Kazakhstan.
Balapan is a 13-year-old boy with an exceptional singing voice. Though his classmates bully him, he never fights back. At the community centre he meets Serik, a boy of the same age, who participates in boxing competitions at night. A very special friendship starts to develop between the two boys. Then, when Serik refuses to be bribed to lose his next fight, he receives a vicious beating and a stab wound. The thugs who attack him are the same guys who tormented Balapan. Serik has to be treated in hospital, and Balapan, who knows how important the fight is to Serik, decides to replace him…
Zharas is tall, strong, and handsome in his own way. He is modest, quiet and works hard after school to support his mother. Still – people in the village have a low opinion of him, since his father is in jail for theft. When his father is released, Zharas doesn’t know how to behave towards him. He observes his father’s futile attempts to find a job – nobody wants to hire an ex-convict. Finally Zharas decides to take action…
Zhaba and his mother lead a life of poverty. Their financial situation is a source of severe suffering for the boy and gives him a feeling of inferiority. Zhaba is an outcast, who searches the sewer system for iron and base metals, which he then melts down and sells. One day he finds a secret entrance to an abandoned steel factory. Some kids who ran away from a disabled children’s shelter have created a hideout there. They sell metal to maintain their habit of sniffing glue. They lead Zhaba to a room deep within the steelworks, where they keep their “treasure”: a box full of scrap silver. All of the children except for Zhaba begin to sniff the glue (which they call “meeting the wounded angel”). While everyone else is high, Zhaba comes up with a fatal plan...
At first sight, Aslan seems to be a well-adjusted boy. He keeps winning regional natural science contests and dreams of entering a renowned medical school. But the life of the 13-year-old takes a sharp turn when he finds out that Rosa, his girlfriend, is pregnant with his baby. Aslan feels unable to face the idea of being a teenage father in the rural province, where every inconsiderate act casts a long, sinful shadow. He forces Rosa to have an unconventional abortion under amateurish circumstances, which ends badly for the girl. This incident plants the seeds of guilt and fear inside the teenager’s soul. He starts strangling and punching himself – until eventually he begins to hallucinate...