Critical Analysis - “ Kogershin”
(director - Malik Zenger)
This five minutes and thirty seconds anti-war music video from Kazakhstan is, to put it simply, a story about kids playing war using cardboard made weapons. But surely, this is by far, not just a simple story.
Director and writer Malik Zenger created a powerful allegory full of strong symbolisms captivating the viewer’s attention from the very first seconds. A solid narrative form, temporarily balanced, with all its elements equally elaborated on the musical backbone of the composer's Moldanazar title song Kogershin.
From the very beginning we are witnesses of a professionally organized film production in all its phases; development, pre-production, production and post-production.
What is particularly important and worth mentioning is the unique interrelation between the music and the film.
One may wonder if it could be otherwise since the project can also be defined as a video-clip. Sure, but while this is a video-clip per se, it is undeniably a short film as well. With the music score and the filmic narration functioning equally complementary but at the same time autonomously.
The film’s message is clearly depicted by watching it with your “ears closed'' without the need to “listen” to it. A perfect example of a story shown rather than told, as it should be in filmmaking.
On the other hand Moldanazar’s song does not only serve as a neutral background fill to the action but also underlies and enhances the feelings and psychological states of the children, as they evolve toward the dramaturgic climax.
At this point let us see what composer and musician Greg Eleftheriou, music director at Short Encounters IFF has to say about it;
“The song is a dive into the ambient/shoegaze pop genre, orchestrated with a lot of voices, electronics and epic percussion.
The pop harmony along with the children's voices, the pitched percussion and the large timpani pays a tribute not only to British Pop, but to epic film music too.
There is also a folk music glimpse of light that makes the song even more interesting.”
Kamilla Atayeva and her crew delivered an amazing result regarding costume design, succeeding masterfully to convey the context of the story, aiding the overall style of the production.
Most importantly establishing the characters not only in the eyes of us viewers, but surely in the minds of the young, non-professional actors, since the realistic and majestic iconographic costumes helped to convey the idiosyncratic identity of the heroes and heroines the children were called to impersonate.
With the action most of the time coherently shot, the camera movement keeping all moving “objects” properly on screen driving the story forward, the lighting evoking feeling and adding style, cinematographer Vladimir Shyian delivered a memorable cinematography. Powerful, drawing attention, building up suspense, creating drama.
Of course the show is stolen by all the young talents. The children, with their innocence, spontaneity and readiness, adopted, under the director’s guidance, a natural acting style, creating cutely melodramatic and realistic performances.
With powerful facial expressions, pure gestures and gently dynamic body postures and movement overwhelm the viewer with their convincing acting.
Nevertheless, judging the film’s macrostructure, one cannot overlook the practical “conveniences” a directorial approach formed on a given musical pattern can have. In our case we don’t have a music score written for a film, but on the contrary a film, made for a music score, namely for a song. Having already a preconceived conceptual and stylistic context, the director is, knowingly called, to serve the story denotatively rather than connotatively. This, one may say, is the weak spot of the film.
Overall, film director Malik Zenger by nesting Moldanazar’s title song Kogershin, in this well written and directed film, he managed not only to deliver a powerful, ecumenic message but to create the desire to us viewers to spread this message further.
“No to the oppression of a person to another. - Fly high and be a symbol for all.” (lyrics)
An aesthetically appealing anti-war artwork.
A call for peace.