The Kite

Director: Alexei Muradov
Screenwriters: Alexei Muradov, Yuri Solodov

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Set in the early 1990s in a provincial Russian town, The Kite hovers in a timeless world somewhere between a bleak Soviet past and a dreary present untouched by the "promise" of perestroika and capitalism. Here we meet a man, who, as an executioner and father of a paraplegic, is pulled between the most brutal and most compassionate of human behaviors in the course of one day.

First-time feature director Alexei Muradov maneuvers like a master craftsman, carefully drawing out emotional undercurrents in a universal drama about the interplay of free will and destiny. Intricate sound design and scant dialogue create a sense of entrapment and dread. Intimate, unflinching shots of the man's face as he writes a letter or waits to pull the trigger reveal his resignation and protest at living within the confines of an ugly paradox. To retain his humanity, he must continue to carry out the most inhumane acts.

The film's palate of faded grays and browns invokes a hazy past now frozen into the present. The bright blue sky in which the son flies his kite is a flash of clarity and vibrancy, which, like the man's resolve, finally provides a fleeting glimpse of freedom. An exquisite achievement, The Kite is undoubtedly the best Russian film of the year.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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