In the majestic and picturesque, but at the same time often bitterly cold and poor landscape of Inner Mongolia, Tuya rides in ‘Tuya’s Marriage’ every day for hours on a camel to herd her flock of sheep. She looks beautiful in her colorful clothes, wrapped up, but life is hard and difficult for her. There is hardly enough food and water. Water must be fetched from a well from afar. Her husband Bater was paralyzed while constructing a well and can no longer walk. Tuya is therefore responsible for the total care of her family. Her life is nothing more than a constant struggle for survival.
Tuya’s back is injured in an accident while helping her neighbor Shenge. She may no longer do heavy work, otherwise she too could become paralyzed. Her neighbor Shenge wants to help her and is secretly in love with her. His own wife sometimes goes out with other men and he is very overwhelmed. His help is not enough for her and it cannot continue like this. Tuya is faced with a difficult and heartbreaking decision. With her husband’s consent, she wants to divorce in order to find a new husband. She must then agree to the care of her paralyzed current husband.
A beautiful story, sketched out with a lot of subtle humor, then develops. Several candidates appear at her door and come to negotiate the conditions set by Tuya. All try to get rid of caring for her current husband in one way or another. Tuya finds this unacceptable, her husband is part of the deal. This may sound like a story full of melodrama, but the director has flawlessly avoided this: at no point is this the case. In a sublime way the events develop further in which the candidates show up, but are rejected again after several rounds of consultations. This is done by this strong woman in a humorous and down-to-earth way. Tuya deliberates, but the love for her husband is unconditional.
‘Tuya’s Marriage’ can be described as a beautiful piece of drama with a tinge of romanticism. All roles have a strong interpretation. The fact of the story is relatively simple in itself, but elaborated and designed in a magnificent way. The main characters are fully developed.
The beautiful landscape is of course suitable for long shots. The photography and camera work are of a high level. In ‘Tuya’s Marriage’ the harsh reality and authentic ways of life are sublime and with a lot of warmth intertwined with the many age-old traditions. This gives a high added value to the story. In terms of style, the director has opted for a kind of semi-documentary style of filming. The film is averse to any pathos or melodrama. The struggle Tuya is going through is that of a dignified and credible struggle. It’s about more than survival sec. The director clearly shows that these shepherds are finding it increasingly difficult to live according to their old traditions. Economic growth and the development of all kinds of projects do not take regional identity into account.
The film begins and ends in tears, which victories of the combative Tuya lie in between? Moving and overwhelming, majestic and magnificent landscapes, very strong game, beautiful soundtrack. A must see.