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‘Yellow Cat’ Trailer: Kazakh Venice Horizons Entry Is a Meta-Cinematic ‘Badlands’-Like Romance

Exclusive: Adilkhan Yerzhanov's Horizons title follows lovers on the lam against a backdrop of cinematic references.

Yellow Cat

“Yellow Cat”

Arizona Films/screenshot

As the Venice Film Festival ramps up for its 77th (and in-person!) run on September 2, now’s the time to peruse the lineup for the discoveries that will pop, especially in a festival season without many new major movies. One such discovery is the film from Kazakhstan “Yellow Cat,” set for the Horizons (or Orizzonti, as it’s known in Italian) section dedicated to edgier fare looking to break out. IndieWire shares the exclusive first trailer for the film, which is directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov. Check it out below.

It’s no coincidence that the music in the trailer sounds a lot like Carl Orff’s “Gassenhauer,” the theme for Terrence Malick’s debut “Badlands.” Like that film, “Yellow Cat” follows lovers on the lam, running from a criminal background but still entangled in all sorts of misadventures. The story centers on ex-con Kermek (Azamat Nigmanov) and his beloved Eva (Kamila Nugmanova), who want to give up their crime-ridden lives in the steppes of Kazakhstan. He has a dream: to build a cinema in the mountains. Will Kermek’s love for 1960s French cinema icon Alain Delon, and particularly Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Le Samouraï,” be strong enough to keep them away from crime gangs’ violent clutches?

Like the main competition, led by president Cate Blanchett, prizes in the Horizons section will be handed out by a jury. “High Life” director Claire Denis is heading up the Horizons jury alongside Oskar Alegria, Francesca Comencini, Katriel Schory, and Christine Vachon. Last year, Valentyn Vasyanovych’s “Atlantis” took the Golden Lion in the Horizons section.

Daniele Luchetti’s “Lacci” will open the 77th edition on September 2. The selection is notable, as “Lacci” has become the first Italian movie to open the Venice Film Festival in 11 years. The last Italian opener was in 2009 with Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baarìa.” Luchetti’s “Lacci” is based on Domenico Starnone’s 2017 novel of the same name about a potential affair that threatens a marriage. The cast includes Alba Rohrwacher, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Morante, Silvio Orlando, and Linda Caridi. Earlier this week, the festival added Pedro Almodóvar’s “The Human Voice” to the lineup, along with Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” starring Kingsley Ben-Adir and Aldis Hodge.

The 2020 Venice Film Festival runs September 2-12.

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