Intriguing, if laboriously paced ethnographic drama is ruined by dubbing bad enough to make Italian TV soaps look believable. Tableaux-like direction and tinny music score underline artificial feel that comes from bad studio recording and worse attempts at synchronization. Color-rich, well-framed images of day-to-day life in a timeless mountain village do contain fascinating artifacts of this remote culture, justifying inclusion in otherwise more discerning fests.
Pic-maker Yusup Razykov, a prime mover in Uzbek cinema who tackled the region’s political history in “The Orator,” here goes for fable-like effect with tale of Sanam (Tuti Yusipova), an ethereally pretty villager frustrated in her attempts to get the undivided attention of Toshtemir (Zikir Mukhammedzhanov), a handsome, bull-headed fellow who too often lets pride get in the way of his courting. Flashbacks are provided by the girl’s sage grandmother (Lola Eltoeva), although given the sound, it’s hard to distinguish her voiceovers from the dialogue.