The Light Thief

by Aktan Arym Kubat

The Light Thief


They call him "Svet-ake" ("Mr. Light"). The electrician is responsible for bringing more than just light to the people around him. Like moths, everybody is drawn to his kindness: those with short circuits in their electricity, and those with short circuits in their marriage, those who have taken all the power in the city, and those who have given up the will to live. He helps everyone and is everywhere. He doesn't even shy from breaking the law, rewinding an old and lonely pensioner's electricity meter so that he doesn't owe the State, but rather the State owes him.

The economic devastation of the country has had an enormous impact on the working people and yet despite the upheaval they have not lost the ability to love, to suffer, to share their lives with friends, and enjoy what they have... in particular our resilient electrician who possesses a wonderful and open heart. He not only brings electric light (which is often out) to the lives of the inhabitants of this village, but he also spreads the light of love, loyalty, life, and most of all, lots of laughter.

He only has two dreams: to someday have a son and to provide people with cheaper energy through wind power.

The country is the midst of a revolution. Power lies in the hands of greed-driven people, obsessed with their personal enrichment. "Svet-ake" is a resistance against this dark madness. He who brings the light, takes it away, leaving the darkness in the dark. Only the light of the dream remains glowing in the night; a candle of a very delicate hope.


Aktan gained international attention for his work, winning the Golden Leopard of the Future at Locarno in 1993 for “The Swing” and the Silver Leopard for “The Adopted Son” in 1998. In 2001, he was nominated for the European Film Academy (EFA) Discovery Award. His films have been screened at various international film festivals and have received multiple awards.

Aktan was born in 1957 in Kyrgyzstan and graduated from the Art Academy in Bishkek (formerly Frunze). He started working as a production designer in the 1980’s, writing his first screenplay in 1995. He has been working as a director since 1992.

Selected Filmography

2009 »The Mother's Heaven« - feature film
2001 »The Chimp« (Maimil) - feature film
1998 »The Adopted Son« (Beshkempir) - feature film
1997 »Hassan Hussen« - short film
1995 »Bus Stop« (Beket) - short film
1993 »The Swing« - 48 minutes feature
1992 »Where's Your Home, Snail?« (Gde tvoy dom, ulitka?) - feature film


Producers: Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Altynai Koichumanova, Thanassis Karathanos, Denis Vaslin, Karl Baumgartner
Writer: Aktan Arym Kubat
Cinematographer: Hassan Kydyraliyev
Sound: Bakyt Niyazaliev
Production Designer: Talgat Asyrankulov
Costumes: Inara Abdieva

Technical Data

Format: 35mm / 24fps / 1:1,85 / Color / Dolby Digital SR
Length: 80 min
Original language: Kyrgyz

Original Title: Svet-Ake


The Light Thief
The Light Thief

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