The Mystery of Ferns

An old man has a stroke and wanders away from a park bench in a state of confusion, and his loving young granddaughter searches for him in this 1992 drama. Most of the people the old man encounters are friendly and caring, with the exception of two robbers and a caricature communist who denounces him as a “parasite.” As he mutely makes his way across rural Uzbekistan the old man's wanderings become a metaphor for the human search for meaning. Director Rachid Malikov's sympathy and respect for the slowing rhythms of old age recall Leo McCarey's landmark 1937 Make Way for Tomorrow, though Malikov's imagery is more conventionally pictorial. Dubbed into Russian from Uzbek, with English subtitles. 72 min.

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