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Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari

Nebesnye zheny lugovykh mari

Instrueret af Aleksey Fedorchenko
Rusland, 2012


Following the idiosyncratic Silent Souls (2010), director Alexey Fedorchenko again focuses on the rites and rituals of a Russian ethnic group, this time the enigmatic Meadow Mari, of the Ural Mountains.

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Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari Instrueret af Aleksey Fedorchenko
Just when something compels our attention, it evaporates, and there is a fair amount of baggy material in the middle. But if we consider Celestial Wives to be a kind of living showcase, Fedorchenko’s contribution to the excavation and revivification of Mari culture and religion (perhaps a cinematic museum exhibit called “Weird Sex on the Volga”), then the film’s faults are completely forgivable.
September 11, 2013
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Director Alexey Fedorchenko, who made the elegiac ethnographic drama Silent Souls, has an eye for striking imagery and an admirable interest in disappearing customs. But Celestial Wives often feels like little more than a string of bawdy-surreal gags, as though Apichatpong Weerasethakul had mounted a remake of Movie 43.
September 08, 2013
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Many of the bits don’t make any rational sense, or even necessarily “go anywhere,” but that’s part of the movie’s overall goofy charm; like 69 Love Songs, it’s more enjoyable as a bravura stunt, experienced in its entirety, than “track” by "track.
September 08, 2013
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