A mountain village in Kyrgyzstan. Life is hard for 12-yr-old Jekshen. His mother has left the family and his father is so depressed he spends all day nursing a bottle. Other members of the family include a beaten-up tractor and a rooster-savant who seems to disapprove of the domestic decay. Jekshen competes in local running races for modest prizes, but the other boys cheat because they know they can’t beat him fairly – he’s the fastest runner in the village. Then one day, Jekshen wins a race, and a goat, and his father and the school gym teacher begin to encourage him to enter the big race that’s coming up. But, blinded by their ambition for him, nobody notices how Jekshen is suffering. Mirlan Abdykalykov’s second feature is an atmospheric glimpse into a lifestyle so alien, yet the tribulations of youth found even here - and deftly underscored - are universal. These qualities, the charming performance from Temirlan Asankadyrov as Jekshen and the occasional dashes of wry comedy make for bracingly enjoyable viewing.
Running To the Sky won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2019 Busan International Film Festival.
“The story of a Krygyzstan boy starting to negotiate the possibilities and pitfalls of the adult world is sure to delight audiences drawn by its big heart and an expressive central performance…” - Screen International.