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NYFF- “Tulpan” and “Let It Rain” brave the elements

NYFF- "Tulpan" and "Let It Rain" brave the elements

Film #1-“Tulpan- I had been looking forward to Sergey Dvortsevoy’s new film with great anticipation. Ten years ago, I saw his documentary short, “Bread Day” at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. There is not a month that goes by that I do not think about that film.

Here’s what I remember: In what appears to be a recurring ritual, a handful of seniors get behind a lone train car and push it through unplowed snow. And that’s pretty much it. They push and push. On and on. Nothing happens. Nothing. You can’t believe you’ve signed on to watch this, virtually in real time. Finally, finally, after enduring the long slow slog, they arrive at their destination. Bickering ensues as they supply their community with the meager amount of bread that was carried in the vehicle. And that’s it.

Then I realized, this is a metaphor for my life.

“Bread Day,” an early a short by Sergey Dvortsevoy, the director of “Tulpan”

Not as impactful, perhaps, but just as visceral is Dvortsevoy’s latest. “Tulpan” is a fiction film, but it takes you RIGHT THERE to the Kazakh steppe. Sand in your teeth, cold tornado winds whipping through your hair, camels honking, pregnant sheep braying. A young man in the navy visits his sister’s nomadic family and contemplates a future as a herdsman. His chances are slim and the only eligible female, Tulpan, won’t have him. If anything resonates for you here, you will love this film.

Film #2-“Let It Rain”- Director Agnès Jaoui dusts off the antiquated term, “feminist.” It seems like ancient history, that for example, Hillary Clinton’s generation of “feminists” paved the way for someone like Sarah Palin to have a myriad of opportunities. So it is surprising to hear the word and see a film take on the subject.

“Let It Rain” is similar to Jaoui’s previous two features, where comedy and wisdom bubble up from a cauldron of family, love, and work relationships. The director plays a novelist who explores a political career. She is self-determined, bossy, tough, and unmarried– a “feminist.”

The evocative film had a few of us discussing our lives and our choices. Is the answer to yield to the universe, to “let it rain”?

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