The Daughter-in-Law

The most effective scenes of this 1972 Turkmenian film are its opening sequence, in which shepherds drive their flock past smoking fires to protect the animals from plague, and one of a woman singing a beautiful song at the end. In between meanders a drama about a woman biding time in the household of her nomadic father-in-law while hoping for the return of her husband, a pilot who disappeared in World War II. The link between her wartime memories and her struggle to transcend the restraints of nomadic tradition isn't fully transparent; seemingly there are historical resonances at work here that (not unreasonably) director Khodjakuli Narliev didn't try to explicate for outsiders. The print has badly faded color. In Turkmen with subtitles. 81 min.

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