VOD of the week – ““Yellow Cat” by Adilkhan Yerzhanov”
Another unreleased film by the prolific Kazakh Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 40, who has already made thirteen films, only two of which have been released in theaters. Here, however, is the most innovative filmmaker in Central Asia today. We can understand that his approach to fiction is disconcerting because with him we don’t always know on which foot to dance (comedy? Drama?); its static and absurd burlesque is intriguing. As often, it happens in the deserted steppe (pleonasm), which is like a blank page where Yerzhanov can organize his little more or less police games at leisure with the false air of a western, where violence and poetry go hand in hand. In « Yellow Cat », we witness the picaresque and disjointed drift of a young couple: Kermek, a dazed and not very talkative convict, obsessed with Melville’s « Samourai », and his sweetheart, Eva, whom he rescued from the clutches of a pimp. An epic in the desert interspersed with murders for fun, and various skirmishes as improbable as each other, in a provocative and parodic vein mixing derision and stupidity, whose equivalents can be found in France with Claude Schmitz (“Braquer Poitiers “), Bruno Dumont (“P’tit Quinquin” series) or the Boukherma brothers. By the way, Yerzhanov, true to his habits, sows some referential clues of which he has the secret. In addition to Alain Delon in « Le Samouraï », which Kermek claims to imitate with his hat, there is the musical « Singing in the rain » mimed by the same Kermek, who robbed gangsters supposedly to build a cinema on a hill. Painting, another hobby of Yerzhanov, is not to be outdone since in passing he allows himself the luxury of reconstructing a famous painting by the American painter Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), « Christina’s world », showing a young woman seated by back in a field; a work that had already inspired Terrence Malick for « Les Moissons du Ciel ». But “Yellow Cat” is above all reminiscent of another film by Malick: “La Balade sauvage”, on the run of a young couple. But postmodernism has been there and Yerzhanov is more disillusioned than all his models. Neither really romantic, comic, or tragic, it aims above all to deconstruct reality as well as clichés, to make them ridiculous, crazy and poetic. As Virgil and Guy Debord said « We go around in circles (in the night) and are devoured by fire ».
“Yellow Cat” by Adilkhan Yerzhanov. France, 2020, 1h 29
To see on mubi.com until August 30 (VO English subtitles)