The Revolt of the Daughters-in-Law | Chicago Reader

The Revolt of the Daughters-in-Law

Melis Abzalov's comic allegory of Soviet regional discontent finds seven brides rebelling against the tyrannical mother of the seven nonmusical brothers they've married. As symbolic protests go, this one knuckles under quickly: the extended family household (our supplicating Soviet republics) resists the ursine authority of Big Mom (stage actress Tursana Djafarova), but finds that things fall apart without a benign despotic hand to keep them running smoothly (it's a variation on the lesson that Andy and Opie used to learn every time Aunt Bee went on vacation). More fascinating than the politics, though, are the cultural incidentals that almost unconsciously intrude on the anemic story line: Soviet modernity butts against traditional ethnic structures (the film was shot in the ancient Uzbek city of Tashkent), and there's more raging subtext in the anthropological contrasts than Abzalov's battling in-laws can accommodate.

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