Khuat Akhmetov's Wind-Man, adapts a short story by Gabriel Garcia- Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”.Discovered by Almat (Kuandyk Kystykbaev) in his shed, the newcomer—who speaks no known language—asks for nothing; he only remains fearfully in his enclosure .Despite his passivity, the old man soon challenges the locals' beliefs and values. Is he an angel, as claimed by the amateur scientist and Koranic scholar Domulla (Erdolat Ospankulov)? Is he one of Satan's minions, as argued by the village mullah (Bekzhan Turys), who cites the creature's inability to understand “Allah's language”? Or is the unfortunate creature some sort of human oddity, the result of nuclear testing? Meanwhile, a menacing veiled figure haunts the periphery of the village, picking off those unfortunate enough to run into him, causing hysteria and panic. Is the faceless man Madar, the Angel of Death from ancient Persian myth, who “kills with a gaze”?
Akhmetov and his co-writer Odelsha Agishev utilize Márquez's plot as a device to comment on issues central to post-Soviet Kazakhstan: the endurance of corruption among state officials (all of whom behave odiously and foolishly); the resurgence of Islam (the film begins with a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer); and the threats that a new, “anything goes” economy poses to traditional ways of life. In its resolution and moral, though, the film departs sharply from Márquez's story, which advances a more complex satire on greed and kindness. Instead, Wind-Man takes every opportunity to laud the “common people,” most of whose actions tend toward the simplistic and “kind”—the better to contrast them with the mendacity of those who govern them.
In a characteristic episode, the regional bigwig Khokim (Farkhad Abdraimov) is summoned from “the town” to examine and pronounce judgment on the mysterious visitor. He refuses to leave his limo until the sun shines—whereupon the locals shoot a canon into the heavens and the clouds disperse. When he emerges, the enormously obese, bald, white-suited Khokim resembles a 1920s Viktor Deni caricature of a fat capitalist (or, a bit further afield, Spiderman's nemesis The Kingpin). When he demands to see the “angel” fly, the local sergeant pokes the old man with a red-hot branding iron to get him airborne. Unlike the hero in Márquez's story, who himself does the branding, in this film Almat tries to intervene in the cruelty.
Despite the hurricane-force winds generated by the creature's wings, he is soon forgotten, as Khokim gets to the real matter at hand: drunkenly carousing while his cronies rob the people blind. A truck laden with loot follows his limo as he leaves the next morning. Later, in an act of petty revenge, the sergeant sets fire to Almat's house—blaming the disaster on the marauding Madar. The message is unmistakable: the government at all levels is criminal, the people ever its victims.s the villagers gather to gawk.