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To Get to Heaven, First You Have to Die

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

This finely directed but tough Tajik tale is part love story, part social critique. Khurshed Golibekov (the director’s nephew) is fine, if essentially passive, as the 19 year old married to his infertile school sweetheart who, on doctor’s orders, travels to the capital in search of greater experience. It soon becomes clear his embarrassing potential impotence is an index not only of his emotional innocence but a kind of psychosomatic reaction to the backward sexual politics of his homeland as he embarks on a series of naive, often inappropriate propositions to young women.

Jamshed Usmonov employs a tense, deliberately mysterious, at times Bressonian, narrative, talking to the audience through his actors’ faces and expressions. His cinematographer, Pascal Lagriffoul, is left to give context through the way he shoots the series of lonely bus stops and factory floors of Dushanbe. At heart this is a three-hander, and Maruf Pulodzoda is also impressive as a jilted husband with murderous intent alongside Dinara Drukarova as his long-suffering, grief-stricken wife.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 28 November 2008
  • Duration:95 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Jamshed Usmonov
  • Screenwriter:Jamshed Usmonov
  • Cast:
    • Khurshed Golibekov
    • Dinara Drukarova
    • Maruf Pulodzoda
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