The Daughter-in-Law

Khodjakuli Narliev's plaintive cinematic poem is as delicate as a desert breeze. A woman whose husband has been killed in WWII lives with her father-in-law in the desert. “You've been irreproachable all these years,” he tells her-at once a compliment and a sad realization. She cannot leave and go back to her family, because that would mean the end of hope that her husband, a heroic pilot, might return one day. The film, composed in rich color, is a series of encounters and memories-the birth of a child, a visit from her brother, a plane ride with her husband just before he went off to war-that revolve around the memory of what was and the bittersweet image of what might have been. A singingly beautiful film.

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