Fine naturalistic drama from Tajikistan
Hard nut Hamro (Uktamoi Miyasarova) returns to Tajikistan to care for his sick mother after a decade of bad behaviour in Moscow (“I messed up three guys” is all we’re told), only to walk into trouble and tough guys every bit as deadly as those he left behind in the big city. With studied calm, Djamshed Usmonov unfurls this quietly admirable tale of morality and maturity, shot in the director’s home village of Asht with members of his family playing many of the key roles (Miyasarova, for instance, is his brother). This naturalistic approach gives the film a familiar, quasi-documentary feel, while the theme of big decisions made by little people and the repercussions thereof recalls the work of Ken Loach, albeit with a more spiritual bent. Miyasarova is excellent as the menacing, conflicted Hamro, but it’s the wonderfully believable evocation of the bustle of daily life in this poor, forgotten but proud village that most resonates.