6.1/10
106
2 user 4 critic

The River (2018)

Ozen (original title)
A portrait of five brothers living on a farm on the Kazakh plains, where the sudden intrusion of the modern world brings corruption, temptation and deceit.

Director:

Emir Baigazin

Writer:

Emir Baigazin
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1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Zhalgas Klanov Zhalgas Klanov ... Aslan
Zhasulan Userbayev Zhasulan Userbayev ... Yerlan
Ruslan Userbayev Ruslan Userbayev ... Tourlan
Bagdaulet Sagindikov Bagdaulet Sagindikov ... Mourat
Sultanali Zhaksybek Sultanali Zhaksybek ... Kenjeh
Kuandyk Kystykbayev Kuandyk Kystykbayev ... Father
Aida Iliyaskyzy Aida Iliyaskyzy ... Mother
Eric Tazabekov Eric Tazabekov ... Kanat
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Storyline

A portrait of five brothers living on a farm on the Kazakh plains, where the sudden intrusion of the modern world brings corruption, temptation and deceit.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Kazakhstan | Poland | Norway

Language:

Kazakh | Russian

Release Date:

12 May 2019 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

O Rio See more »

Filming Locations:

Kazakhstan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The boys underwent three moths of swimming lessons prior to filming. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slowly paced but steadily developing story. Remote farm with father/mother/five sons. A suddenly arriving outsider with modern gadgets disturbes the balance of power
23 February 2019 | by JvH48See all my reviews

Saw this at the Rotterdam film festival 2019. The screenplay shows very good dramatic developments, slowly paced but not too slow to be bored stiff. The calm proceedings perfectly match the situation at hand, where nothing much happens within the mini-world with only father, mother and five sons. In this world, one does what is necessary to sustain family life and the living stock on the farm, following the rhythms of day/night and the seasons.

The relationship between the five brothers starts clear cut: oldest brother Aslan runs the farm, and his brothers are assumed to help him with the variety of daily chores (and to rest only on Sundays). The father is away most of the time to sell their products, and we don't see him much. Only once we hear (not see) him disciplining one of the younger brothers, not sure what he did wrong to deserve this, but the father makes clear that Aslan better had done this before him, in his place so to say, acting as his deputy to maintain order and discipline around the house.

The power balance is disturbed when outsider Kanat arrives with modern gadgets, such as a tablet and computer games, thereby showing a very different life style, without any interest in the farm and its live stock. It is natural that the brothers are circling around him and severely derelict their farm related duties. This poses a dilemma for Aslan, requiring action. It changes the course of the story when he reveals some secrets of which the younger brothers thought no one knew about it. On the other hand, the younger brothers also know secrets about Aslan. Once lots of mutually known secrets are revealed, a new power balance arises, and it is sealed by promising to keep it all under the hood and not tell their father.

Eventually it creates a fresh relationship between the brothers, now more based on equality. They even cooperate without much ado in helping each other with the daily chores, even working harder than ever before. And, as a result, the initial attraction of Kanat and his gadgets seems to lessen. The father, unknowing of the cause of the better atmosphere, praises Aslan for his leadership.

When suddenly Kanat disappears, we viewers as well as nearly all brothers (except the youngest) do all what is necessary to hide the truth about Kanat's disappearance, whatever that truth may be. Of course, the brothers have their suspicions what has happened. Just like we are led to believe that Aslan has some hand in the disappearance. We see the brothers jointly burning Kanats clothes, which confirms our suspicions even more. Eventually, a surprise for me as for all brothers, the actual truth proves very different from what they (and we) assumed.

All in all, the interactions between the family members are very well portrayed. Normally we would call it a character study, but it is done too subtly for that. Steady developments, albeit served in a very calm tempo, keep us awake all the time. I can imagine that the settings and the synopsis will not attract the crowds, but I consider that to be their fault.


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