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A solitary philosophy student steers his directionless life toward the commission of a violent crime, spurred on by postmodern musings and a post-Soviet order characterized by growing inequality, institutional corruption and a ruthless ethic of "eat or be eaten." Inspired by Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment," director Darezhan Omirbayev roots his nameless student in the losing segment of Kazakhstan's new capitalist era, whose population watches the rich rise above common legal proscriptions and old-fashioned communal values. Omirbayev's brooding protagonist may prove the willing student of the age, but he alone reckons with the consequences of his actions, a gesture strikingly at odds with a world losing a consistent concept of justice.

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