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Review: True Noon – Qiyami roz (2009)

Directed by: Nosir Saidov | 83 minutes | drama | Actors: Yuriy Nazarov, Nasriddin Nuriddinov, Nasiba Sharipova,

The landscape of Tajikistan is characterized by a beautiful mountain landscape with beautiful valleys in which there are old villages that clearly point to a past under which the country was still under the Soviet regime, partly due to the houses where there are still many icons in bookcases. Beautifully dilapidated villages in its own way where goatherds are still the order of the day. Tajikistan is wedged between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China and therefore has a rather unstable politics. Director takes this uncertainty as a starting point and tells a story about a village that is split in two overnight by a political decision. A barbed wire fence will be placed in the center of the village and landmines will be laid on either side to keep the border zone free of people.

Nilufar is getting married to Aziz, but the sudden obstruction makes this a very difficult problem. Nilufar works as an intern at the weather station of Kirill Ivanovich, a half Russian who his wife has not seen in a long time. His plan is to hand over the weather station to Nilufar and Aziz after the wedding and then return to Russia. One question remains: can the wedding take place? The story mainly focuses on Nilufar’s and how they prepare for the upcoming wedding. Sometimes silly, funny humor from family situations is difficult to avoid, but fortunately the director opts for a fairly neutral approach and leaves out too old-fashioned situations. The filming itself is several times very reminiscent of the old Soviet cinema (production company Mosfilm), but therefore also gives a nice authentic atmosphere. It is as if time stood still in Lower and Upper Safedobi.

Although Saidov’s premise is good, there is quite a bit wrong with the implementation. It never becomes clear why the boundary comes, and although this will undoubtedly be the intention of the filmmaker, a large part of the story is missing. The border is also not really convincing, a plank of wood against it and you can jump over it (the mines are only put down later, after that it gets a bit more difficult). You expect from films from the old Soviet states that a lot of attention is paid to the development of the individual and his character, and unfortunately that is not fully reflected in ‘True Noon’. You never get to know the different characters very well and the often so appreciated identification is therefore virtually absent. This does not alter the fact that it is a quiet endearing and sometimes beautiful that aims to draw attention to the uncertain situation of the country. True Noon may not be a masterpiece, but it is a beautiful portrait of the danger of political instability and the metaphor that love knows no boundaries.

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