For a film with such little dialogue, it made a huge impression on me. Quan’an Wang wrote and directed a film that begins with a murder case and takes us on an introspective journey into social gender roles. I was not expecting that. I was expecting this to be a film that explored what happened to the young woman that was murdered at the beginning of the film. But as luck had in store for me. I got a cinematic treat.
Wang’s ability for us to dig deeper into the society that the gun-totting, alcohol drinking female sheepherder’s life was beautiful. She displays an aspect of her existence as resolute and unabashed as almost any role for a woman I have ever seen. Aorigeletu played the Herder. She owned this role. Living her life on her terms was the main focus of the Herder. I enjoyed how she weaved in and out of the story but still had enough presence to carry the film. She didn’t do it alone. The excellent cinematography work by Avmerick Pilarsk featured his work as a costar.
Due to his cinematography, the ability to enjoy a film without that much dialogue felt very natural. That is how powerful his work was in this film. The landscape shots in this film were just beautiful. I felt the film required a vision that Piarski and Wang created together for the viewers. It worked for me. Even the everyday brutality of life and death conveyed through the use of animals created an extraordinary film experience. One that couldn’t be made here, in the United States.
Sadly this film is going to be challenging to find. However, if you can see this film, it is a must-watch.
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