THE LIGHT THIEF (Aktan Arym Kubat). 80 minutes. Subtitled. Opens today (Thursday, November 18) at TIFF Bell Lightbox. See Movie Times. Rating: NNN
In a remote Kyrgyzstan village, an amateur electrician known as Mr. Light (writer/director Aktan Arym Kubat) spends his days tweaking the townsfolk's meters to keep their energy costs down and building windmills to get his neighbours off the grid.
It's your basic scruffy-dreamer set-up, presented with unaffected realism, and Kubat is a pleasant enough screen presence as the cheerful hero. Everything proceeds more or less as you'd expect in a movie like this, the script contrasting the locals' DIY resourcefulness with the outsiders' rapacious greed.
The allegory gets uncomfortably strident once Mr. Light falls in with a local fixer (Askat Sulaimanov) who's buying up land around town with the hopes of flipping it to foreign investors, and the last reel stretches the premise a little further than it wants to go.