If one discounts the facile and unconvincing ending, this first feature by Guka Omarova, a former actress and writer for Sergei Bodrov (who collaborated with her on the script for this film), offers a convincingly bleak view of how a 15-year-old boy could get ahead in rural Kazakhstan in the early 90s. Hired by a hood to find miners willing to participate in murderous amateur boxing matches, he winds up delivering the prize money of a fighter who dies to the boxer’s girlfriend and son, and eventually gets pushed into crime. 86 min. In Russian with subtitles. (JR)

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