THE ASSAULT by Adilkan Ezhanov wins the Grand Prix and the Critic's Prize at the Polar Film Festival in Reims 

The Reims Polar detective film festival, which closed its doors Sunday, April 10, 2002, awarded its prizes on Saturday evening, including the Grand Prize, given to Assault by Adikhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan). The festival jury was presided over by the French actor Niels Arestrup, who received a Caesarean award for his roles in A prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped.


Assault, which recounts in absurd mode the hostage-taking of a school by masked men, with adults organizing themselves to come to the aid of the student prisoners, was also awarded the Critics’ Prize, awarded by a jury composed of five journalists.


In total, 50 films signed by filmmakers of twenty nationalities were presented during the festival which is held in Reims, chaired by Bruno Barde, also at the helm of the American film festival of Deauville and the fantastic film of Gérardmer.


The festival, which held its first edition online last year due to the health crisis, paid several tributes, including to American director Walter Hill (48 hours, The warriors of the night) and French actor Vincent Lindon.




Adilkhan Yerzhanov is one of the most renowned Kazakh filmmakers. At 38, he has already made 11 films (including The Owners, The Plague at the Karatas Village and A Dark, Dark Man) that received dozens of awards at various festivals. Assault is his twelfth picture.

The film continues to develop the universe of Karatas village – a miniature allegorical copy of the country and the world at large. It is in Karatas that most of Yerzhanov’s films take place. The plot is centered on a terrorist attack on a school – an attack that, through the fault of a teacher, develops into a hostage situation. Beslan, Kazan and other similar tragedies from all over the world come to mind, but the standard disclaimer states that all coincidences are accidental. Assault is not a pure drama; moreover, it is not a typical action movie. As usual for Yerzhanov, it is an allegorical parable rich in concepts and connotations.

The stars of the film are Azamat Nigmanov, Berik Aitzhanov, Yerken Gubashev, Daniyar Alshinov, Nurlan Batyrov, Nurbek Mukushev, Teoman Khos and the Russian actress Aleksandra Revenko (Three Seconds, The Student, Summer). Yerzhanov, as it is customary for him, also wrote the screenplay. Music was composed by Galymzhan Moldanazar.


ADILKHAN YERZHANOV, writer and director, “The events of the film happen in an imaginary village called Karatas. Its school is taken over by unidentified masked people. The village is remote, so if the road is blocked by snow, no one can reach it. I do not know such places in Kazakhstan. That space is, of course, completely symbolic and not linked to anything real. Assault should generally not be connected to any real events. It is psychological and not socio-political.


It is also not a standard action movie about freeing hostages. It is not about fighting bad guys; it is about fighting yourself. There is an existential dimension to Assault: a person must make a choice, so the main battle is happening inside – introspectively. I like the trendy term “slow burner”. I think it defines the genre of this film quite adequately".




Writer and director Adilkhan YERZHANOV was born 7 August 1982 in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakh SSR. In 1999, he won the best screenplay competition for the animation film Kozy-Korpesh and Bayan-Sulu. In 2009, he graduated from the chair of Film Direction at the the Kazakh National Academy of Arts. His diploma project was the film Karatas. Later, he was awarded an internship in New York. Yarzhanov is a member of EFA and APSA. His selected filmography includes Collective Immunity (2021), Ulbolsyn (2020), Yellow Cat (2020), A Dark, Dark Man (2019), Atbai’s Fight (2019), The Gentle Indifference of the World (2018), Night God (2017), The Plague at the Karatas Village (2016), Boom Barrier (2015), The Owners (2014), Constructors (2013), Rieltors (2011), Karatas (2009), and Bakhytzhamal (2007).