Top positive review
39 people found this helpful
life on the Steppes - sheep, camels, love-sick swains, yurts
on 13 November 2009
I enjoyed this film, which took me into a completely new world (one in which I would not choose to live!), that of sheep farmers on the Steppes in Khazakhstan. Asa, back from military service in the navy, wants to settle as a sheep farmer, get his own flock, live a happy family life. His brother-in-law Ondas, who is a shepherd working for the local boss, does not think much of him, and to be able to get a flock Asa must marry - but the only available girl locally, Tulpan, will not have him (he has big sticky-out ears, and that appears to be the problem, even though he can prove by means of a magazine cutting that Prince Charles's ears are bigger- and he's a prince, albeit, they believe, an American one). Asa does his very best with the sheep, but he is inexperienced and rather inept, and it does not turn out all that well for him.
The film is in many ways absorbing and even delightful. This comes mainly from the landscape of the Steppes, beautifully filmed, the huge skies, the strange lifestyle of the small family on whom the film centres, some songs, stark realism in the birth of stillborn sheep and a little perhaps unintentional humour ('There is too much pornography in this tractor!' says Ondas, arguably justifiably). It is also certainly the only film in which you will see an entirely credible episode in which two men on an ancient motorbike with a bandaged immature camel in the sidecar are followed and harassed by the camel's mother. I enjoyed it and found it fresh and certainly very unusual. I'm sure it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a good film and well worth a look.