In: Historical Events

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Kelin tells the tale of a young village woman torn between two suitors - story about womanhood and family in Kazakhstan. The roles women play in Kelin compose the themes of this film. Kelin’s future is in the hands of her father who will give here to the man with the most wealth regardless of her personal feelings. This decision then perpetuates the inciting incident as Kelin’s true lover (the lesser of the suitors) makes a blood oath to return and take Kelin as his wife. With no other witnesses, Kelin does her best to keep the evidence of the oath hidden as it has left a scar on her forearm. She leaves her father to begin her new life. Her husband is a family man, supporting his brother and shamanistic mother and Kelin soon develops feelings for him. She longs for her true lover but must find a way to live in peace or else pay the price of betrayal. But what makes this film special is the absence of dialogue. This film is a perfect example of showing, not telling. Rather than relying on speaking the camera shows landscape, and lighting to reinforce the actions of the characters. For instance the majestic landscape of the Altai Mountains is presented. We immediately get a sense for the bleak, lonely world these people live in. There is no any police or any form of help for that matter. These people are truly on their own living by their own laws.
The feministic nature of the film is also a breath of fresh air. One would typically think that in nomadic tribes the men would be the center of the family. While on the surface this may be true as we see the men collecting firewood, milking the yaks, and hunting. When Kelin’s husband suffers a fatal wound the feministic theme begins to take over. Without women there cannot be new life, and without the shaman women the death rituals will not be completed. There are fighting scenes, funny scenes, and…...

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