Review: ‘The Dove’s Bell-Ringer’

Running time:70 MIN.

Running time:70 MIN.

Timur … Chingiz Nogalbaev

Elya … Elmira Makhmutova

Slow-moving and ponderously elegiac, “The Dove’s Bell-Ringer” sets its tale of star-crossed lovers on the lonesome plains of Kazakhstan. New Wave director Amir Karakulov (whose “Woman Between Two Brothers” made the fest rounds in 1991) recounts his minimalist tale in elegant, fixed-camera long takes that follow one another with little variation. Pic shared first prize at the Taormina fest, but its B.O. chances outside fests look remote.

Timur (Chingiz Nogalbaev), a young man who does little besides raising doves, is dumped by his g.f. but soon falls in love with a beautiful young neighbor, Elya (Elmira Makhmutova). They marry, but she dies during childbirth. Driven mad with heartbreak, Timur kills a man in a fight and is thrown into a local jail. He breaks out and wanders back to the dovecote and his memories.

Although plenty of momentous things happen, they are shot with such deliberate casualness and lack of emphasis that the film feels static and uneventful. Minimal dialogue is mirrored by minimal information about the characters. Shots are carefully composed but given little rhythm through editing.

The Dove's Bell-Ringer



A Kazakhfilm Studio production. Directed by Amir Karakulov. Screenplay, Karakulov, Elena Gordeeva.


Camera (color), Fedor Aranyshev; art direction, Rustem Abdrashev. Reviewed at Taormina Film Festival (competing), Italy, July 28 , 1994.

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