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This digital video feature from Kazakhstan is about an opera singer who returns to her impoverished village under doctor's orders to rest her voice. The improvised dialogue is intermittently awkward, and the image sometimes goes soft in the manner of a cinema verite documentary. Nonetheless, it's far more affecting than many slicker productions thanks to director Amir Karakulov's observant camera and real-time visual rhythms, which transform the simple narrative into a confrontation with essential human dilemmas. When the singer tries to sell her fine dresses in a public market in order to buy medicine to treat a young relative's potentially fatal lung condition, her failure is shown in a long take that makes her lack of options searingly vivid. In Kazakh with subtitles. 80 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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