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Kamal, 20 years old, can't have sexual intercourse with women although he is married. He goes to the big city and notices beautiful Vera, whom he follows round town. Will his partnership with her husband, a mafia thug, help him become a man ? Written by
Disappointing plot in this glimpse of a still obscure Central Asian country
TO GET TO HEAVEN, FIRST YOU HAVE TO DIE (2006) is a film by Jamshed Usmonov set in the director's native Tajikistan. Kamal (Khurshed Golibekov) is a young man who has recently married, but he suffers from impotence and has been unable to consummate his marriage. After three months, he visits a doctor and then undertakes to learn the art of love from some older woman in the capital. The first half of the film has him stalking various women around Dushanbe. This odyssey in an American film would probably have been portrayed in a goofy underdog fashion, but Kamal's attempts are creepy, though we do feel his pain.
About halfway through the film, Kamal ends up sleeping with the wife (Dinara Drukarova) of a thug (Maruf Pulodzoda). This lowlife finds out, he doesn't mind as he had been separated from his wife for some time anyway, and takes Kamal under his wing as they burgle their way around town. After witnessing the full extent of his partner's brutality, Kamal turns on him in a bloody fashion, which happens to cure his sexual dysfunction.
All in all, I can't recommend TO GET TO HEAVEN to general audiences. This isn't the first film I've seen by a young director that begins in one way and then transitions too suddenly into mobsters and violence. Yes, I get the Oedipal allusions and the probing of the male psyche, but the plot arc chosen for this study just screams "immature scriptwriter". The cinematography is also unimaginative.
I could compliment only two aspects, which will probably only interest a rather niche audience. One is that I was bound for Tajikistan in less than a week as I watched the film, and there are few internationally available films from the country, so I guess TO GET TO HEAVEN was useful as a glimpse of Tajikistan. The acting by Drukarova and Pulodzoda was competent, and perhaps the same could be said for Golibekov if the character he portrays weren't too cringingly awkward to really appreciate.
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