After her father's untimely death, Saltanat is forced to trade her idyllic countryside life for the cruel city. She has to find money to pay off the large family debt that her father left ...
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After her father's untimely death, Saltanat is forced to trade her idyllic countryside life for the cruel city. She has to find money to pay off the large family debt that her father left behind, in order to save her mother from jail. Friends since their village childhood, her loyal, but penniless admirer Kuandyk follows her just to make sure his sweetheart is safe. Saltanat's uncle introduces her to a possible groom, who promises to pay off her family's debts. But Saltanat's hopes are dashed, when she discovers that the men in this city don't keep their word. When Kuandyk tries to help Saltanat get the money through other ways, he ends up finding himself in more trouble than he bargained for. Although life keeps dealing them bad hands, Saltanat and Kuandyk never give up, no matter what the odds.
This Kazakh masterpiece is almost a 9. But a conscious decision to tell a melodrama while killing the drama almost completely makes this movie hard to connect with. Aesthetically and technicly I would rate it 10, without a shadow of a doubt. But the emotional detachment forced upon the story by the director maybe reffering to the movie's title "The Gentle Indifference of the World" - a quote from The Stranger of Albert Camus, a quote made in the movie by the two leading characters.
The movie uses aesthetic cross references, such as the paintings of Henri Rousseau, the most obvious representative of Naive art, whose pictures are shown in the film more than once, blending perfectly with the amazingly static camera used by Adilkhan Yerzhanov and the strong frame he enhance each scene with. His caracters are Naive, they are aware of their own naivity but keep on hoping they will prevail.
It's a difficult one to watch, because it chooses to be so very gentle, no matter how brutal the story is. And I personally wasn't always so very happy with that gentleness, though I do appreciate the art and mastery required to achieve it.
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