FilmFestival Cottbus Review: 18 kHz

It’s hard to quantify just how vast and varied the USSR was as a union. Spanning well over 200 million kilometres and encompassing at least 130 different spoken languages, it encompassed a wealth of different cultures and peoples. It has been difficult for some nations to escape culturally and socially from their former mistress. Take Kazakhstan, for instance. Despite releasing roughly 15 feature films each year, the country often struggles to get its voice heard in packed European and Asian film markets. 18 kHz is well worth your time though.

Sanzhar (Musakhan Zhumakhanov) comes from a good family with money, but he’s desperate for freedom. His best friend Dzhaga (Alibek Adiken) seeks the same release but is far more determined to get it. These two young men begin to seek out new experiences, which inadvertently leads them to a local dealer and his girlfriend Alisa (Kamila Fun-So). Dreams and reality begin to merge as they fall deeper into this illicit and murky world.

18 kHz is a vibrant and kinetic coming-of-age drama which pits the trials and tribulations of youth with the growing drug culture of the era. Based on Zara Yesenaman’s novel Hardcore and mixing with director Farkhat Sharipov’s memories of his own adolescence, we’re transported into a world of degradation, desire and dilapidation. Set to a thrilling soundtrack, 18kHz skilfully conjures up the excitement and dangers of a period of national change and exploration.

18 kHz screens as part of FilmFestival Cottbus for German audiences.

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