Somewhere in the endless steppes of Central Asia lies a treasure. One man holds the key to it, a fragment of an ancient map. But in his restless quest, Charles isn’t looking for fame or glory. He’s looking for a way to heal his wounded soul. Ulzhan felt it the first time she laid eyes on him.
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Just makes Volker Schlöndorff and Jean-Claude Carrière look like the old dudes they are. Nameless Frenchman wanders empty landscape on obscure quest, meets mysterious characters... There are many folk there on the Kazakh steppe who speak French well (!) The sole bright spot's the actress who plays the title character. No stunning beauty, but plenty charm. Keep her, scrap the other characters, make a different movie.
3.5. Gorgeous cinematography of post-Soviet ruins & landscapes. Beginning had nice Jim Jarmusch feel with strange characters in strange lands. Lead guy too dull though. Never a good sign when my mind starts to imagine alternative tales: "And then a UFO comes and beams him up!" "And then she takes a knife and stabs him for being such a sentimental ass!" I wish the story had been entirely about Ulzhan. She rocked!
A rough four, three seems too low, but four seems too generous. Anyways, a very interesting and quite good film. We're left in the dark a little bit too much, so much so that the reveal is too damp, as we've already pieced everything together. The film also cannot decide whether to embrace the fantasy it pursues or to cling to reality. Decent film full of interesting concepts.
A film with impressive long shots of the open plains and mountains of Central Asia. Charles, Ulzhan, and Shakuni are interesting enough to follow along and have meaningful dialogue. There are some parts of this film that are not as believable as others and there are some mysteries that are not fully revealed. However, overall it is a decent film.
Bittersweet tale of a man wandering in the wilderness looking for a way to find peace and closure. He follows a "treasure map" and picks up a couple of companions along the way. A fascinating discovery of character and longing. Delves deep into what makes a person complete. Need and desire and a quest for completion. Even though I'm at odds with the ending a bit, it's a very well made film and extremely well acted.
Variety called this "another tale of a westerner exorcising his demons in exotic Asia with the help of a local babe". They are not far from wrong but I did enjoy this although the supporting characters are far more interesting than the lead, whom by about the 3/4 mark I wanted to slap across the back of the head and scream " wake the fuck up". Luckily the "local babe" does it for me. Spectacular locations.