Sergey Dvortsevoy makes his international debut with this astonishingly intimate portrait of a nomadic family on the Kazakh plains. Several scenes in this slow, elegant film betray a certain dry humor -- a child devouring the last of a bowl of yogurt and then crying; a cow getting its head stuck in a pail; and a woman singing to herself, accompanied by her snoring husband. Other scenes capture the nomads' hardscrabble lives -- drunken herdsmen in the grips of existential despair, growling dogs, and a camel enduring a rather grim septum piercing. By the end of the film, the family pulls up stakes and herds its sundry four-legged beasts -- camels, cattle, goats, dogs, and horses -- to a more fertile plain. This film was screened at the 1999 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.
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