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original title: Bopem

2015, DCP, 77 min., Kazakh

Asia cruelty dreams juvenile mother-son post-Soviet space sea life

COUNTRY: Kazakhstan


Ruslan Abibullayev, Bekarys Abdigappar, Aikyn Kalykov, Almagul Alisheva, Raikhan Aitkozhaeva


Director : Screenplay : Zhanna Issabayeva
Cinematographer : Michael Blintsov
Producers : Zhanna Issabayeva


Warsaw Film Festival (International Competition) 2015

Statement of the film

 This is a tragical story of a little boy on the background of a huge national ecological disaster of the Aral Sea.

As an author I always feel pain looking at any kind of injustice. It also strikes me when I think of the Aral Sea, once a rich place with developed fisheries sector, that was “killed” by ignorant people. A decent region turned into an unsuitable for life place, same as the life of a happy little boy turned into ruins when the policeman killed his mom.

As an author and as a human I was always interested in the theme of revenge. I do not believe in juridical justice. The law is often imperfect. Often those who must defend the law – break it themselves. Sometimes it feels unfair that people cannot administer justice by themselves. I believe that only the victim can estimate the degree of the crime and figure out an adequate punishment.

Nevertheless, will the revenge bring peace of mind to a victim?


Rayan is a 14-years old teenager. He lives alone on the territory of dried Aral Sea. He used to have a lovely mother. They enjoyed walking along the beach, watching ships and talk. When Rayan was five, his mother died in front of him in a car crash. Rayan also witnessed the death of the Aral Sea. “The sea was gone with mother.” Rayan is missing his mother and still goes to the former beach, but there he sees sand instead of water and a rotten ship.One day Rayan is being told at a hospital that he is sick with a life-threatening disease. There is a cure, but little chance that Rayan receives quota for a free surgery from the state and he does not have money for regular surgery. Waiting line for quota is long but Rayan only has 2-3 months left to live.

Rayan goes to his “old friend” – an old rotten ship and finds torn flag of Soviet period. Since Rayan might die any moment, he decides avenge people guilty in his tragical life first. He kills the police officer who ran over his mother and then he kills his father who took a bribe from that police officer, letting him get away with it.

However, revenge does not bring Rayan satisfaction, in contrary, he only suffers more. Rayan does not plan killing his aunt, sister of his father, but he does kill her as well. Rayan fixes the flag (the one he finds and repairs) on to the rusty old ship in order to start the “endless journey”. At this moment he is being told that he is given a quota for a free surgery from the state.