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Tuya, hardworking and hardheaded, is a Mongolian desert herder who refuses to be settled in a town in accordance with the new industrialization policy. She is kept busy with two kids, a disabled husband and one hundred sheep to care for, but one day she hurts her back. The only way for the family to survive is for her to divorce her husband on paper and look for a new spouse who can take care of the whole family. A series of suitors lines up, but it s not easy to find a man who fits the bill. This warm, endearing tale, featuring stunning cinematography, won the top prize at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival.
"A Wonderfully Assured Piece of Cinema." --Chicago Tribune
"A Compact Near-Masterpiece that combines a slow-motion romantic comedy with a docudrama-style portrait of a remote, nomadic culture as it is gradually eroded by the tides of the 21st century. --Salon
Winner Best Film, Berlin Film Festival --New York Times
Top customer reviews
The photography and scenery in the film is uniformly excellent, and the detailed depiction of the customs, dress, and daily routines of struggling Mongolian sheep-herders is fascinating. The music, used to great effect in selected scenes, fits the film beautifully: exotic, stirring and plaintive to the Western ear. These aspects, and the unique premise of the story make the film worthwhile.
The film is scripted, but with the exception of the title role, characters are played by non-actors. There is a clear, event-studded storyline and ample drama, but emotions and humor, which are central to the story, are buried far below the surface. This, for me, is a disturbing weakness in the film. The characters feel SO foreign that they are hard to feel close to.
Perhaps it is my unfamiliarity with the cultural norms of these sheep-herders, but I found a lack of expressiveness in the actors' faces, and a paucity of gestures and of eye-contact between characters distancing. The spoken lines, as well, often seem to me, an American, to be delivered without the appropriate expression of voice, but I don't understand Mandarin and it may just be the unfamiliar rhythmns and intonations of the language that are unsettling for me.
One last nitty complaint - to me, the decibel level of wind, motors, and voices in the scenes filmed on the steppes was distracting (though memorable).
One day her sister-in-law visits and persuades her she needs to divorce her husband so she can re-marry and find a man to help her. Ultimately Tuya reluctantly agrees but stipulates that any marriage to another man must include the care of her former husband. After she divorces him, there is no shortage of potential suitors, usually arriving in family groups to plead their cases. The characters and tale of courtship are riveting. She weighs each proposal carefully and in the end makes her selection. But was it the right choice? Will this new marriage improve her way of life or just make things more complicated?
This is a story to which we can all relate, no matter our cultural heritage. It is beautifully filmed and very moving.
It was encouraged to her to divorce her husband and find a man who could work. When the suitors discovered she was available, they turn away, when one stipulation she made was that she is allowed to keep her disabled husband. A wealthy suitor, that she knew previously, is willing to take her on. His plan was to put the husband in a nursing home, send the kids away to school.
This is an easy film to watch, good subtitles, not a lot of dialogue, nice views of the desertland. It is with an interesting concept to a marriage. ....Rizzo
Tuya's life is made harder after her husband injures his back and can no longer work on their sheep farm. She is forced to realize that she needs an able bodied husband and should get divorced and try to marry again. She is responsible for the well being of her two children and she works 24-7, dressed in layers against the cold of the steppes, riding her camel and coming home to make food and more hot milk-tea, everyone's favorite drink OTHER than booze.
The plot doesn't thicken much more, but its enough for a good glimpse into a world infinitely different from ours. Well directed and well filmed, colorful and COLD!