Schizo | 2005
Mustafa, or "Schizo," a boy not quite 15 years old, becomes caught up in sordid adult dealings, and must struggle to maintain his sense of beauty and right as he develops the expertise and thick skin of a true player. Growing up in the destitute early '90s Kazakhstan, and nicknamed "Schizo" for his eccentric behavior in school, the young man lives an unrewarding home life in early-'90s Kazakhstan with his single mother and her boyfriend Sakura (a small-time hood). The makeshift family is poor, and the adults pay little attention to Schizo's prospects, except that Sakura offers Schizo a role in his own income scheme: procuring other men who will agree to fight in an underground and illegal boxing syndicate. The men will vie for money and cars, but few will ever win, and some are horribly injured. Already toughened by life, Schizo takes to this work with zeal, happy to have a little spending money. But he is taken aback when one recruit--a young man named Ali--dies after his boxing match, entrusting a small amount of money to Schizo, to be delivered to Ali's girlfriend Zina. Feeling a faint sympathy for the dead Ali, Schizo finds Zina, a somewhat older woman, living in a small hovel on the outskirts of his town. Also living there is someone Ali never mentioned: his young son Sanzhik, a mere toddler who finds the new, teenage stranger intriguing.