Offering classic lovers-on-the-run melodrama amid spectacular widescreen backdrops, Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville’s “Tengri: Blue Heavens” is arthouse exotica of the most accessible sort. Lightweight tale, set in the Kyrgyzstan mountains, has a married jailoo (village) woman in the angering her neglectful spouse and community by carrying on with a smitten prodigal son. Their subsequent flight yields a back-country travelogue and mildly perilous adventure, none taken too seriously by the helmer/co-scenarist. Slick, pleasant package should prove a popular fest item before select arthouse, DVD and broadcast sales.
Temur (Ilimbeck Kalmourstov) had hoped to return home as a fisherman after his disillusioning experiences as a sailor abroad, but the Aral Sea has dried up in his absence. Seeking out his birth village, he discovers his father is long dead, but is welcomed back anyway. He’s immediately attracted to pretty, flirtatious Amira (Albina Imasheva), whose spouse has become a religious fundamentalist while fighting with the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Eventually, a posse pursues the fugitives over steppes and mountains. While the plight of women is addressed, “Tengri” maintains a playful tone dominated by folk song, colorful dress and impressive scenery.